E.A. Sports Today

Going Wilder

Oxford boys, Faith girls grab first-day lead after doubles play in Red Wilder Invitational; Donoho 2’s Draper, Hillman impress playing up

Donoho’s Claire Hillman reaches down for a backhand during Friday’s doubles play in the Red Wilder Invitational. Hillman and partner Lily Grace Draper played up at No. 1 doubles and won the title. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today
OXFORD – Oxford’s boys swept all three doubles titles to take a commanding lead in their bracket and Faith Christian’s girls pulled ahead in theirs highlighting the opening day of the Red Wilder Invitational that serves as the Calhoun County Tennis Tournament.
The singles phase of the tournament is Saturday.

Faith’s Kristin Covington fires a volley back across the net. Covington and partner Megan Ford won three matches to win the No. 2 doubles title. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

Oxford’s boys finished the night with 24 points, well ahead of second-place Faith (9) and third-place Jacksonville (6). Faith leads the girls bracket with 15 points and Donoho is second with nine. Donoho has only four girls in the six singles on Saturday, so it will have a tough time catching Faith.
The opening night of doubles play took a decidedly Oxford flavor as the Yellow Jackets’ 1, 2 and 3 teams did not lose a match. The No. 1 team of Ben Reimer and Chase White defeated Jacksonville 10-2 and Faith 10-1.
Seth Turner and Landon MaCoy led Oxford to the No. 2 doubles title with wins over Faith (10-0) and Jacksonville (10-4). The No. 3 team of Ethan Fuller and Josh Whaley had very few problems as they defeated Jacksonville (10-2) and Faith (10-1).
Last year, the Donoho girls dominated the tournament, winning all three doubles titles and all six in singles. This year, it is a different story as the Lady Falcons have their top two players out of town on a school intercession trip.
This opened the door for the Nos. 2 and 3 doubles bracket as Donoho did not have a team in No. 3. The Oxford team of Jasmine Browne and Kalee Spears edged Faith’s Dacey Dunaway and Kassidy Nix 10-8 in the finals.
Faith’s No. 2 doubles team of Kristin Covington and Megan Ford had to play three matches to win their title. They started out with a 11-10 win over Oxford, then beat Donoho (10-5) before beating Jacksonville 10-1 in the championship match.
For Donoho eighth graders Claire Hillman and Lily Grace Draper it was just another fantastic performance. With the No. 1 girls team out of town, the duo had to move up and play No. 1 doubles and had to play three matches to win – and they managed to pull it off.
“I was so proud of those two, Hillman and Draper,” Donoho coach Laurie Rigsby said. “They were playing up one level and they had to play three different styles. It was good to watch them make adjustments in strategy during the match and figure out how to win.”
Hillman, who finished second in the state last year as a seventh grader, and Draper won their doubles matches last year and all their singles matches in last year’s county tournament.
They continued to stay unbeaten in county tournament play as the No. 2 Donoho doubles team swept through the No. 1 doubles play to win the championship. They defeated Oxford 10-1 and Jacksonville 10-2 and battled back from a 4-1 deficit to beat Faith’s Zana Christjohn and Sarah Jessica Christjohn 10-6 in the finals.
“It was lots of fun out there,” Hillman said. “We had to back up a little in order to get to the ball and we had to try a lot of things against Faith as that was a really tough match.”
“It is a lot of fun playing with Claire and I like our team,” Draper said.
Team scores
Oxford 24, Faith Christian 9, Jacksonville 6, Donoho 3, Pleasant Valley 3.
Girls: Faith Christian 15, Donoho 9, Jacksonville 6, Oxford 6, Pleasant Valley 0.
Match results 
No. 1 Doubles:
  Harrison Han/Reese McWhorter (D) d. Dakota Parr/Reed Fulmer (PV), 10-2; Jac Myrick/Eli Mitchell (F) d. Han/McWhorter (D), 10-4; Ben Reimer/Chase White (O) d. Brett Noah/Cole Gaddy (J), 10-2; Finals – Reimer/White (O) d. Myrick/Mitchell (F), 10-1.
No. 2 Doubles: Trent Findley/Jacob Teal (PV) d. Jack Ballard/Zach Cater (D), 10-6; Ammon Record/Braden Hodge (J) d. Findley/Teal (PV), 10-5; Seth Turner/Landon MaCoy (O) d. Josh Goode/Brodie Yarbrough (F), 10-0; Finals – Turner/MaCoy (O) d. Record/Hodge (J), 10-4.
No. 3 Doubles:  Evan Miller/Braden Stacks (F) d. Andrew Johnson/Jeremiah Jones (PV), 10-2; Ethan Fuller/Josh Whaley (O) d. Mason Bayles/Patrick Ricketts (J), 10-2; Finals – Fuller/Ricketts (D) d. Miller/Stacks (F), 10-1.
No. 1 Doubles:
  Claire Hillman/Lily Grace Draper (D) d. Abby Reimer/Channing Gallahar (O), 10-1; Hillman/Draper (D) d. Molly Wilson/Natalie Patterson (J), 10-2; Zana Christjohn/Sarah Jessica Christjohn (F) d. Karina Jones/Maci Meadows, 10-0; Finals – Hillman/Draper (D) d. Christjohn/Christjohn (F), 10-6.
No. 2 Doubles:  Kristin Covington/Meagan Ford (F) d. Kaelyn Albright/Caroline Rogers (O), 11-10 (11-9); Covington/Ford (F) d. Mary Marshall Perry/Claire Walker (D), 10-5; Andreea Trifas/Tyler Reyes (J) d. Rileigh Kirsch/Madi Hayes (PV), 10-8; Finals – Covington/Ford (F) d. Trifas/Reyes (J), 10-1.
No. 3 Doubles: Jasmine Brown/KaLee Spears (O) d. Allison Vess/Chloe Cram (PV), 10-3; Finals – Brown/Spears (O) d. Dacey Dunaway/Kassidy Nix (F), 10-8.

Donoho’s Harrison Han runs down a shot on the baseline. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

To see a gallery of photos from the day’s matches, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

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