E.A. Sports Today

Falcons return to seal deal

A state spot already in hand, Donoho completes interrupted girls sectional finals by sweeping remaining matches; Oxford boys also state-bound

By Jay Walker
Special to East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — Rain halted the Class 1A-2A-3A Section 4 tennis tournament Monday evening, but the girls on Donoho’s tennis team arrived back at the Jacksonville State tennis complex early Tuesday morning with energy and determination.

The Falcons swept the finals of each singles and doubles competition that remained when play was suspended — all at the expense of Faith Christian – and as a result pulled away in the team points, 58 to 37.

Pleasant Valley and Victory Christian players were all eliminated in Monday’s matches and remained tied for third with seven points each. Ragland earned two points.

Two points are awarded for each singles victory. Three points are awarded for each doubles victory.

Although disappointed by not winning any of the finals, Faith Christian’s girls were excited about going to the State Tournament next week in Mobile for the first time.

The top two teams from each section qualify for the State Tournament. Donoho and Pleasant Valley qualified on the boys side before the rains came Monday. The PV boys also will be making their first appearance at State.

Three of the four seniors on Faith’s roster — Abby Emerson, Janay Caver and Regan Crosby — started on the team as seventh graders and going to state is a gratifying reward for six years of work. The fourth senior, Cornelia Simpson, took up tennis only three months ago to help her classmates advance.

Donoho’s girls have a rich tradition of playing in the State Tournament. That experience made a difference this week as the Lions provided stiff competition in several of the finals matches.

Hadley Smith won a tight match for the Falcons at No. 4 Singles over Crosby, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4.

In the No. 6 Singles final, Donoho’s Claire Walker dropped the first set to Faith Christian’s Simpson, but came back in the next two sets, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Walker, who is recovering from serious leg surgery, had to go three sets in the No. 3 Doubles as well. Teaming with Marella Hudson, the duo outlasted Simpson and Sarah Jessica Christjohn, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the last match of the tournament.

Donoho senior Wittney Brown had already claimed the unofficial title of top girls player in the section by winning No. 1 Singles. She teamed with Emma Wiedmer for the No. 1 Doubles crown as well, defeating Faith Christian’s Emerson and Zana Christjohn in a close final, 6-4, 6-4.

Final Girls Team Standings: Donoho 58, Faith Christian 37, Pleasant Valley 7, Victory Christian 7, Ragland 2.

Tuesday’s results

No. 2 Singles Finals: Emma Wiedmer (D) d. Zana Christjohn (F), 7-5, 6-1.

No. 4 Singles Finals: Hadley Smith (D) d. Regan Crosby (F), 7-6 (8-6), 6-4.

No. 6 Singles Finals: Claire Walker (D) d. Cornelia Simpson (F), 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

No. 1 Doubles Finals: Wittney Brown-Emma Wiedmer (D) d. Abby Emerson-Zana Christjohn (F), 6-4, 6-4.

No. 2 Doubles Finals: Virginia Hutto-Hadley Smith (D) d. Janay Caver-Regan Crosby (F), 6-3, 6-4.

No. 3 Doubles Finals: Marella Hudson-Claire Walker (D) d. Sarah Jessica Christjohn-Cornelia Simpson (F), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

OXFORD ADVANCES: The Oxford boys overcame all kinds of adversity to make it through to the state tournament as sectional runner-up. At least two of their players were playing through illness

Jake Hammond, in his first year with the tennis team, won at No. 2 singles and Landon Macoy won at No. 4 singles. Hammond and Chase White made the finals of No. 2 doubles and lost in three sets to Pell City.

Ben Reimer battled through the flu and fell in the No. 1 singles final to Pell City in two sets. Seth Turner was playing with pneumonia and he and partner Ethan Fuller lost in the No. 3 doubles semifinals.

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