E.A. Sports Today

Past meets present

One of Donoho’s founding tennis players returns to area, watches current Falcons teams sweep Ragland

Donoho’s Cooper Montgomery returns a shot in last week’s County Tournament. On the cover, Marcella Tucker (R), one of Donoho’s original tennis players, watched current Falcons coach Laurie Rigsby’s teams sweep Ragland. (Cover photo by Brant Locklier. Inside photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

Donoho tennis came full circle Thursday as past met present at the Anniston Country Club where both Falcons teams remained unbeaten with 6-0 victories over Ragland.

It was a young Ragland program that came to town as the Purple Devils only had four girls and boys players as they seek to build their program to a level Donoho’s is under head coach Laurie Rigsby.

But there was a time when Donoho was the fledging young program. The Falcons were honored with the presence of one of those early players, Marcella Tucker, who came back to watch her alma mater’s tennis match. Tucker was a member of the school’s first five tennis teams back in the late 60’s.

“It was a different era back then; there was no Title IX,” Tucker said. “I graduated in 1969 and we only had four girls on the team. We coached ourselves and parents would take us to matches. I am sure there was an adult supervising somewhere in there, I just do not remember.

“We would play field hockey and soccer in the fall and winter and if it rained we would be inside for study hall. In the spring our parents would take us over to the Anniston Country Club and we would just practice. In my senior year they built the dome that is over there now and we could practice in the gym if there was rain.”

There were no county teams to play so trips to Birmingham and Huntsville to find opponents were commonplace.

”We just figured out who would be the 1, 2, 3 and 4 players and did our best,” Tucker said. “There was no state championship program.”

Tucker went on to play tennis at The Mississippi College for Women and then came to the University of Alabama where she helped coach the tennis and volleyball teams to help pay for her Masters degree.

She has been living in South Florida and has been back in the area taking care of her elderly mother who just recently passed away. She still plays tennis to this day

“It was a wonderful opportunity to meet and talk with Marcella,” Rigsby said, “and to meet someone who was there at the beginning of our program.”

The Falcons put on a show for Tucker as they won 96 of 100 total games played in the match. Both Donoho teams are 3-0.

“I am very proud of our start,” Rigsby said. “Five of our guys made the county individual finals and all six of our girls made the finals (winning the county championship. I am very pleased with then all.

“We are a lot younger than we were a year ago and we are coming off a week of no practice with our intercession week, so I was a bit concerned how we would respond. They are just such a good group.”

Donoho 6, Ragland 0

Cooper Montgomery (D) def. Cade Walker, 8-0
David Hudson (D) def. William Boswell, 8-1
Norwood Hodges (D) def. Zachary Brooks, 8-0
Harrison Han (D) def. Cayon Phillips, 8-0
Montgomery-Hudson (D) def. Walker-Boswell, 8-1
Hodges-Wilson Russell (D) def. Brooks-Phillips, 8-0

Donoho 6, Ragland 0

Whitney Brown (D) def. Jayda Thornton, 8-1
Emma Weidmer (D) def. Ketlyn Shelnut, 8-0
Virginia Hutto (D) def. Kaitlyn Brasher, 8-0
Hadley Smith (D) def. Alexis Walker, 8-0
Brown-Widmeir (D) def. Thornton-Brasher, 8-0
Hutto-Smith (D) def. Shelnut-Walker, 8-1

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