E.A. Sports Today

All they do is win

Donoho girls, Oxford boys win Red Wilder county tournament tennis championship

The Donoho girls tennis team flanks Red Wilder Tournament director Jay Walker. (From left) Claire Hillman, Lily Grace Draper, Emma Weidmer, Virginia Hutto, Mary Marshall Perry, Claire Walker. (Photo by Brant Locklier)

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today
OXFORD – For the fourth consecutive year Oxford’s and Donoho’s girls won their respective Calhoun County tennis championships in the Red Wilder Tournament at Oxford Lake Saturday.

The Donoho girls made it their fifth straight title with a dominating performance in singles play. They won 17 sets by a total score of 136 games to 3. The six Falcons have now won a combined 22 county titles.
The bad news for Donoho opponents is three of those players – Claire Hillman, Lily Draper and Mary Perry – are only ninth graders. Hillman and Draper are also defending state champions.

Hillman won her three No. 1 singles matches 8-0, 8-0 and 8-1. She played Jacksonville eighth-grader Andreea Trifas in the finals. Trifas took the first game and Hillman roared back to win the last eight with a strategy of hitting lobs that created extreme difficulties for her opponent.
“She was a tough opponent and I had to try different things to win the match,” said Hillman. “We have not been able to play much this spring and I’ve been getting kind of burned out. When I do not enjoy it, it is no fun to play and the time off has been good.”
This was Hillman’s third county title.
Draper, who also plays soccer and volleyball, was in top form as she won all three of her matches 8-0 for her third county title. She previously won at No. 6 and No. 4.
“I feel pretty good about my game right now,” she said. “I felt good out there today. I have had to balance soccer and tennis (in the spring) and just try to make each game that is going on each day.”
Senior Emma Weidmer won all three of her matches 8-0 to claim her fifth county crown.
“It is just awesome,” she declared. “I have been fortunate to win it every year and really wanted to win this year being my last. It has been difficult getting time on the courts with all the rain and intercession, but we will be all right.”

Virginia Hutto breezed to her fourth county title 8-0, 8-0, and 8-1.
“It was good to get out there today,” she said. “The weather has been awful and we have not been able to practice as much as we have wanted to.”
Perry rolled 8-0, 8-0, 8-0 to claim her second county championship.
“I felt like I hit the ball really good today,” she said. “It was a tough championship match. (Pleasant Valley’s Madi Hayes) really hit the ball hard and kept me moving.”
Junior Claire Walker captured her fifth county title winning two matches 8-2 and 8-0.
“I was working hard out there trying to focus on each point and on my serves and my backhand,” she said.
Donoho’s 63 points was 37 points ahead of runner-up Oxford. Jacksonville gathered up 11 points for a third-place finish, with Faith Christian and Pleasant Valley finishing with four points each.

“Our girls’ team is working very well together,” Donoho coach Laurie Rigsby. “We believe we have a real chance to win a state championship. We have plenty of depth this year and I am trying to get some JV tournaments worked in to get people some playing time. I am proud of the way they played this weekend. The girls are playing not to lose a single game and that is great attitude to take into a match.”
On the boys side Oxford and Faith each won two singles titles and sent five players to the finals.
Oxford had built a lead on Friday night’s doubles play and was able to win the title with 31 points. Donoho was second with 19 points. Faith was third with 16 points.

“I was not really expecting this, as we lost five of our six starters from a year ago,” said Oxford coach Riley Jones. “We got some early wins in the tournament and that really gave us some confidence and kind of got us going. I am pleased with the way they fought and battled out there.
“This is my second year as coach and I have a better idea of what to expect and looking forward to the rest of the season,” said Jones.

Cade Hilbun and Anthony Pratt picked up wins at No. 2 and No. 5.
Faith picked up titles with freshman Eli Mitchell winning 8-5 over Oxford’s Blake Ramsay in the finals and an 8-4 win in the semis.
“It was a very tough match, he was very good,” Mitchell said. “I was just trying to get out of there with a win.”

Gavin Randall claimed Faith’s other win, with 8-4 and 8-3 match wins.
“Our boys have been working very hard and are improving,” Faith coach Robbie Yarbrough said. “They are still very young, but they are learning and developing.”
Donoho’s No. 6, Garrett Orth, took his first championship with an 8-4 victory.
“He has not been playing tennis long, so that a big win for him,” said Rigsby. “We owe a lot of credit to Tommy Capps, who became a coach, and has been working with the boys this year.”
Donoho senior Cooper Montgomery won two matches 8-2 to win at No. 1 singles.
“It was great to win, after missing last year due to intercession,” said Montgomery. “I started off slow but I got the last eight games and felt pretty good after that.”

Pleasant Valley coach Adam Goosby is still building the Pleasant Valley team. He is entering his sixth year and has more players out this year. His girls’ team scored four points.
“I feel like our girls’ team is going to get much better this year,” Goosby said. “We have a lot of kids back. We are rebuilding on the boys side as we lost six seniors off of last year’s team.”
Team scores:
Oxford 31, Donoho 19, Faith Christian 16.
Singles championship matches
No. 1 – Cooper Montgomery (Donoho) over Josh Goode (Faith) 8-2
No. 2 – Cade Hilbun (Oxford) over Brodie Yarbrough (Faith) 8-5
No. 3 – Eli Mitchell (Faith) over Blake Ramsey (Oxford) 8-5
No. 4 – Gavin Randall (Faith) over Kye McEwen (Oxford) 8-3
No. 5 – Anthony Pratt (Oxford) over Brandon Stacks (Faith) 8-2
No. 6 – Garrett Orth (Donoho) over Elliott Hamilton (Oxford) 8-4

Team scores:
Donoho 63, Oxford 26, Jacksonville 11, Faith Christian 4, Pleasant Valley 4.
Singles championship matches
No. 1 – Claire Hillman (Donoho) over Andreea Trifas (Jacksonville) 8-1
No. 2 – Lily Grace Draper (Donoho) over Kaelyn Albright (Oxford) 8-0
No. 3 – Emma Weidmer (Donoho) over Tyler Reyes (Jacksonville) 8-0
No. 4 – Virginia Hutto (Donoho) over Madi Hayes (Pleasant Valley) 8-1
No. 5 – Mary Marshall Perry (Donoho) over Jasmine Brown (Oxford) 8-0
No. 6 – Claire Walker (Donoho) over Kelsey Brown (Faith) 8-0

No. 1: 
Claire Hillman (D) d. Abby Reimer (O), 8-0; Hillman (D) d. Maci Meadows (P), 8-0; Andreea Trifas (J) d. Meagan Ford (F), 8-2; Finals – Hillman (D) d. Trifas (J), 8-1.
No. 2: Lily Grace Draper (D) d. Anna Duke (J), 8-0; Draper (D) d. Kassidy Nix (F), 8-0; Kaelyn Albright (O) d. Rileigh Kirsch (P), 8-1; Finals – Draper (D) d. Albright (O), 8-0.

No. 3: Emma Wiedmer (D) d. Chloe Cram (P), 8-0; Wiedmer (D) d. Abigail Pratt (O), 8-0; Tyler Reyes (J) d. Lauren Holder (F), 8-4; Finals – Wiedmer (D) d. Reyes (J), 8-0.

No. 4: Virginia Hutto (D) d. Caroline Rogers (O), 8-0; Hutto (D) d. Winnie Lu (J), 8-0; Madi Hayes (P) d. Anna Kate Robertson (F), 8-4; Finals – Hutto (D) d. Hayes (P), 8-1.

No. 5: Mary Marshall Perry (D) d. Bailey Schultz (P), 8-0; Perry (D) d. Anna Strautman (F), 8-0; Jasmine Brown (O) d. Mikaela Watkins (J), 8-1; Finals – Perry (D) d. Brown (O), 8-0.

No. 6: Kelsey Brown (F) d. Miniya-Grace Van (J), 8-4; Brown (F) d. Rebecca Travis (P), 8-6; Claire Walker (D) d. KaLee Spears (O), 8-2; Finals – Walker (D) d. Brown (F), 8-0.

No. 1:
 Josh Goode (F) d. Trent Findley (P), 8-3; Cooper Montgomery (D) d. Josh Whaley (O), 8-2; Finals – Montgomery (D) d. Goode (F), 8-2.

No. 2: Brodie Yarbrough (F) d. Jack Ballard (D), 8-4; Cade Hilbun (O) d. Joseph Johnson (P), 8-0; Finals – Hilbun (O) d. Yarbrough (O), 8-5.

No. 3: Eli Mitchell (F) d. Dalton Estes (P), 8-2; Blake Ramsey (O) d. Zach Cater (D), 8-4; Finals – Mitchell (F) d. Ramsey (O), 8-5.

No. 4: Gavin Randall (F) d. Sam Ballard (D), 8-4; Kye McEwen (O) d. Tristan Angles (P), 8-2; Finals – Randall (F) d. McEwen (O), 8-3.

No. 5: Braden Stacks (F) d. Cole Proper (P), 8-6; Anthony Pratt (O) d. Cainan Stacks (D), 9-7; Finals – Pratt (O) d. Stacks (F), 8-2.

No. 6: Elliott Hamilton (O) d. Evan Smith (F), 8-6; Garrett Orth (D) d. Jonathan Evans (P), 8-2; Finals – Orth (D) d. Hamilton (O), 8-4.

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