The GCA Tennis Team traveled to Rome, Georgia this past Monday and Tuesday to compete in the GAPPS State Tennis Tournament at Berry College. In the individual qualifications, the team performed well, but unfortunately did not earn any winning positions.
Owen Earnest represented the GCA boys’ singles in the individual qualifiers. Earnest had a first-round bye, beat his next opponent, David Emanuel Academy’s Riley Griner, 8-1, before being beaten by Habersham School’s Henry Brooks, 5-8.
In women’s singles qualifying, Mallorie Jordan and Kate Poitevint both earned a first round bye, while Sybil Lee won her first round 8-0. Jordan defeated Phoebe Davis of Rock Springs 8-1 in the quarterfinals; Lee beat Habersham School’s Cecelia Manley 8-5 in the quarter-finals; and Poitevint beat Habersham’s Lindsey Norman, 8-1.
In the semi-finals, Jordan and Lee faced off, with Jordan eventually winning 8-3. Poitevint lost to Habersham’s Lucy Kelly, 3-8.
Jordan would go on to face Kelly in the championship match, winning the first set 6-4, losing the second 1-6 and losing the third 6-10. Despite the loss, Jordan was still state runner-up.
“She fought hard,” coach Rhonda Wells said in an interview Tuesday. “It was a tough game on a very hot day, and his opponent was a backboard who just seemed to get it all on the courts.” She continued, “I’m extremely proud of all the kids’ performance yesterday.”
For the doubles qualifier, Ella Harrell and Kassidy Widner beat the Heritage Christian Academy duo in the quarter-finals, 8-4. Grier Albritton and Mercer Murray beat another Heritage duo in the quarterfinals, this time 8-5. Unfortunately, both pairs of GCA doubles lost in the semi-finals.
Tag team matches began on Tuesday, with Grace initially winning the semifinal against Swainsboro’s David Emanuel Academy. Jordan, Poitevint and Lee quickly won three singles courts, which interrupted the doubles round. In the singles championship round, No. 3 singles player Lee won the first match, while No. 1 singles player Jordan lost his, resulting in a tie.
At this point, the No. 1 doubles pair of Harrell and Widner finally lost their match, leaving the rest of the tournament to Poitevint, the No. 2 singles player, and Albritton and Tiffany Kornmeier, the No. 2 doubles pair. Both groups of players ended up splitting their sets and had to compete in a deciding third set for the state championship title. The doubles started before the singles, and Albritton and Kornmeier eventually lost 10-12, securing Habersham’s victory as Region 1 Division 1 State Champions.
“Of course, we would have loved to bring home the 1st place the trophy, but we’re happy with the way the girls fought it out,” Coach Wells said. As for the future of the tennis team, she said, “We are losing a girl, so our women’s team will continue to be strong with what we have, and a few 9s up.and class girls. I have a few boys graduating but I’m considering a 9 raiseand graders who will be sliding into the boys’ team next year to get us in top shape on the boys’ side.
Congratulations to the Cougars on a hard fought season!