From school reports
The MAIS North State AAA Tennis Championships were held May 2 in Greenville, and Winston Academy was set to attend with seven players after a successful performance at the District Championships.
The seven that qualified for North State were Marla Hudson, Isaac Keen, Braxton Bane, Lilly Sisson, Anna-Grace Woolery, Blake Peterson and Makenna Foster. Unfortunately, Winston had to forfeit their girls No. 1 doubles due to illness; therefore, only five traveled to Greenville.
At North State, players have to win two matches to advance to State. Competition was like no other year as purported by the coaches that were seeing their top players get knocked off unexpectedly. Billy Gip Clark of Heritage and USTA official said, “This is the best tennis I’ve seen at this level.” Coach Wade Baskin of Winston noted that these are the players that we’ll see in the finals at state unless the South has a big surprise for us.”
Winston played fairly well in the 1st of 3 rounds with all teams advancing except boys No. 2 singles. Isaac Keen, a senior, and an ECCC tennis scholarship recipient had a great season with Winston. He fought well in his North State match, but the unorthodox play of his opponent narrowly prevailed.
In the tightest match of the day, Braxton Bane, Winston’s boys No. 1 singles, took on Colin Hartman of North Delta and won the first set but lost the second and found himself down in a tie breaker. First one to 10 wins. Braxton dug deep and found a way to string together six points to bring the score to 10-9 (you have to win by two). It was match point for Braxton and the rally was a long slow one to see who wanted to take the chance. Hartman pressed the net, Braxton opted to hit directly at him instead of passing, but Hartman smacked it into the net and Braxton won 11-9.
Braxton then blew through Upton Hitt of Manchester in the second round to advance to the finals. Unfortunately, due to an injury, he walked through the match and is now working to recover and play well at State.
Marla Hudson, girls No. 2 singles, won easily in her first round as did the mixed doubles team of Blake Peterson and Makenna Foster. However, in the second round they both encountered more seasoned players that stopped Winston’s momentum.
The State AAA Championships are Wednesday (today), May 10, and Braxton Bane is set to take on the champ of the South in boys #1 singles. Coach Wade Baskin, also Braxton’s Physical Therapist, is confident that Braxton will be ready.
Coach Wade and Assistant Coach, Cole Duty are excited about what they achieved this year and look forward to further developing their tennis program by accessing all those interested to upcoming tennis activities.
Since tennis is a sport you can play all your life, the Winston coaches have decided to develop year round activities. Coach Wade said, “We have some of the best public courts available and a lot of people interested in learning how to play, it’s time for us to make this happen.” To find out more go to https://www.remind.com/join/tennisyeah and join the list.