Jackson ringers oust Tornadoes

Jackson ringers oust Tornadoes
Jackson ringers oust Tornadoes

Union City’s Sara Gilliam and Rachel Triplett prepare for doubles play Monday.
The age-old public school versus private school debate reared its head at the Region 7A-AA Tournament Monday.
And in three matches involving members of the Union City tennis squad, the private school opposition triumphed.
The postseason and prep tennis careers of Ben Woods, Caroline Kirkland, Sara Gilliam and Rachel Triplett all came to a screeching halt against the best that District 13A-AA had to offer at the UT Martin Tennis Courts.
Woods, the District 14A-AA champion fell to University School of Jackson’s Stuart Howell (6-4, 7-5), with Caroline Kirkland downed by USJ’s Madison Patey in a pair of 6-0 sets.
In doubles action, Gilliam and Triplett fell in the semifinals (6-1, 6-3) to Trinity Christian Academy’s Christa Hutchison and Crickett Glenn.
“I think we were a bit overmatched today,” Tornado tennis coach Jason Deem said afterward. “We played against some competition that eats, sleeps and breathes tennis, whereas our guys and girls have a lot of irons in the fire.
“I think that made for the difference today, but we still had a great season and all of these individuals should be commended for making it this far.”
In singles play at UTM Monday, Tornado Ben Woods, who played prior to his baseball team’s 9-6 loss vs. McKenzie in the Region 7A Tournament, fell to USJ’s Howell in the most competitive match featuring a local.
“I think Ben played well through the distractions he had today,” Deem said.
The distractions Woods had to weather were Howell’s on-court antics that might have reminded some fans of a hybrid between tennis great John McEnroe and baseball player Carlos Zambrano.
The Bruin netter repeatedly yelled and talked to himself throughout the match, especially when he was not doing well or after an error.
Meanwhile, Triplett and Gilliam fell in a quieter match to Trinity Christian Academy’s Glenn and Hutchison 6-1, 6-3.
“I’m extremely proud of Rachel and Sara for their efforts and I have to appluade them for coming together so well as a team,” Deeam commented. “As a whole, I’m proud of all my seniors this year.”
Finally, Kirkland, who finished the season with an individual record of 8-3, was knocked from the event by USJ’s Patey, who finished as the state runner-up in 2007.
“There’s no shame in losing to a player like Madison Patey,” Deem said after Kirkland’s elimination. “Obviously, you want to play the best when you get to the postseason and that’s what Caroline got the opportunity to do.”
Patey won the Region championship later in the day by defeating Greenfield’s Katie McCall in straight sets in the region finals.
Prior to Monday’s outing, McCall was the only tennis player that Kirkland had lost to.
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at kcoker@ucmessenger.com.

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