By DAVE LINK
MURFREESBORO – It was championship Friday for individuals in singles and doubles at the state tennis tournament.
All the matches were moved indoors at the Adams Tennis Complex due to heavy rain in the morning.
Here’s a look at results of players from the 5Star Preps coverage area:
MOTIVATED CARR WINS
L&N STEM Academy’s Evan Carr was motivated by runner-up finishes at state as a freshman and sophomore – and by the COVID-cancelled 2020 season.
Carr defeated Claiborne’s Eli England 6-2, 6-2 for the state title.
“It feels great,” Carr said. “I definitely wanted to win it since my freshman year. To come in second in three sets both my freshman and sophomore year, it was definitely great to come back and win a championship.”
Carr didn’t let an early-morning start stop him.
“It was very early,” he said, “so it was tough to get into it, but once I got into it, I started playing a lot better. After the first set, I started getting momentum.”
Carr will attend Santa Clara University in California and might be a walk-on with the tennis team.
“I have family out there but I also wanted to go to Santa Clara because I’m going to a top business school for academics,” he said. “I wanted to do academics over Division III or Division II tennis.”
L&N STEM senior Maddie Maben’s run at state ended with a 6-1, 6-0 loss to Camden’s Ellison Reynoldson in the finals.
THORNTON GETS 2ND TITLE
Catholic sophomore Maeve Thornton played No. 1 singles and led the Lady Irish to the Division II-AA state team championship Wednesday.
Thornton earned her second title Friday with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over St. Benedict senior Sean Mullin.
“I’m excited,” Thornton said. “It’s good for me, it’s good representing the school, my teammates, everything. It’s really exciting.”
Thornton was ranked No. 95 in the nation in the 16-unders when Catholic’s season started.
She hadn’t played Mullin since they were in the 12-unders playing in a juniors tournament.
“I played OK,” Thornton said. “I was a little nervous at first, a little tight, but I loosened up and started going with my game plan and everything. I got a little down in the second set, but then I thought about my teammates and everything, and it encouraged me to keep going and keep fighting, and it turned around.”
Thornton rallied from an 0-3 deficit in the second set.
“I started hitting it in more and I started playing with more intensity,” she said.
FAULKNER ACHIEVES DREAM
Christian Academy of Knoxville eighth-grader Allie Faulkner achieved her dream, winning the Division II-A singles title with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Lausanne junior left-hander Kai Wince.
“I feel very happy right now,” Faulkner said. “I just got chills in the moment. I’ve dreamed about this ever since my sister (Kate, a CAK sophomore) went to state as a golfer. There’s no words to describe it right now.”
Faulkner beat Wince earlier this week 6-1, 6-0 during the team tournament.
Facing the same opponent again had its challenges.
“It was hard,” she said, “because I knew that she would come out hungrier for the win and I knew she would tweak some things in her game. But I knew I just had to keep the ball in play, cut out my unforced errors and play my very best.”
Faulkner was in control for the most part.
She had a 2-0 lead in the first set, and after Wince tied it 2-all, won the next four games for the set.
“I played very well,” Faulkner said. “I was very happy with how I played. I could have probably stayed a little more calm. My adrenalin was pumping, so I did get a little upset when I made some unforced errors, but I played very well. I’m very happyabout it.”
Webb School of Knoxville took home two doubles titles in Division II-A.
Wilder Dewhirst and Alex Juergens won the boys’ title, while Lili Roth and Delaney Bone claimed the girls’ title.
Dewhirst and Juergens posted a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Jack Wilkerson and Tristan Scallion of University School of Jackson.
Dewhirst is a sophomore and Juergens is a junior. They hadn’tplayed together before this season.
“We started playing together because it felt right, and it did go right, Dewhirst said.
Friday’s match went about as planned.
“We played pretty well,” Dewhirst said. “We served well and returned well, so with those two combinations, it’s hard for us to lose. (Wilkerson and Scallion) played well today, but we went out there and we competed, which is all I can ask for.”
Roth and Bone defeated University School of Jackson’s BrileeDavis and Addy Measley, 6-3, 6-1.
The Webb duo have been playing doubles together for a while.
We’ve actually been playing together in tournaments and doubles since we were about 10 years old,” Roth said, “so it made the win all the sweeter. It was kind of a full circle moment for us.”
Roth lost in the state doubles final as a freshman and sophomore. She was paired with Bone in the 2019 final when they finished runners-up.
“I’ve been on this stage before and it’s so nice to get that win my senior year,” Roth said.
Roth and Bone didn’t let the big moment get to them.
“We played really well,” Roth said. “We played smart. We played aggressive. We kept the ball in the court and figured out to play to our strength and to our opponents’ weaknesses, and we were able to pull it out. It was really exciting.”
Gatlinburg-Pittman’s Preston Johns and Justin McCarty were runners-up in Division I Class Large doubles.
They lost to Joshua and Joseph Rodriguez of Merrol Hyde, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.
“We played good,” Johns said. “We kind of got down on ourselves in the second half, but we started to pull back and started to play pretty well. They’re just a tough opponent and a pretty solid team. We tried to do all we could, but we played pretty solid.”
Johns liked the state experience.
“It was great,” he said. “It was a good look because we see all these other boys and how they’re playing, and you just kind of compare yourself to everyone else and see how good you actually are. It was just a good eye opener to see all the competition in the state, so we were really blessed to be here. It was a good journey, kind of bittersweet, but it was all right.”