Copiah beats AC for district title

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 9, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; Adams Christian fell just short, but it wasn’t a bad day for the Rebels.

Copiah Academy won the championship at the District 3-AA Tennis Tournament, but the Rebels sent nine players on to the South State Championship Tuesday at Brookhaven Academy.

&uot;It was very close today, but we have a lot of people going on to South State,&uot; AC coach Nicky Freeman said. &uot;More than half of the team advanced today.&uot;

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Copiah coach Allison Beach was pleased her team continued its winning ways in the district tournament.

&uot;It was a great day for us,&uot; Beach said. &uot;We’ve had a good year. We’ve had seven matches and we’re 7-0, so things are going the way we want them to.&uot;

Copiah won with 17 points, Adams Christian finished second with 16 points. Central Hinds and Chamberlain-Hunt tied with three points and Riverfield scored one point. One girls’ doubles match was still left to finish, but would not affect the final standings. For each match win a team gets one point.

For Copiah, just practicing has been something of an adventure. With only two courts at their disposal, the Colonels have to rotate through practice so that the entire team can get some practice time, Beach said.

The tournament was a first for the district, which had previously sent its players directly to the South State level. But with retooled divisions this year, Class AA instituted district tournaments before the South State level. Only the top two finishers in each event go on to compete in South State.

&uot;We just had so many teams now, we had to eliminate them down before the South State level,&uot; Freeman said.

The Rebels dominated the singles events, with No. 1 boys’ singles champion Walter Freeman cruising through his bracket. Freeman dropped just one game en route to taking the district title.

&uot;I played well today,&uot; Freeman said. &uot;I know there will definitely be some tough matches ahead of me when it comes to South State. It should be a good tournament there.&uot;

In the No. 2 boys’ singles, the final match between Copiah’s Rob Covington and Central Hinds’ James Griggs became a marathon, lasting three sets and taking nearly three hours to play in the hot afternoon sun. Griggs won in the three sets, taking a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 win and the No. 2 district championship.

But it wasn’t easy. In the time it took Griggs to win, Freeman finished two matches in the No. 1 singles.

&uot;I’m tired and exhausted,&uot; Griggs said. &uot;I’ve beaten him twice before this year and those were two long matches too. I just had to sit there and adapt and adjust to what he was doing.&uot;

Both No. 1 and No. 2 girls’ singles went to the Rebels, with Amanda Bryant and Meghan Austin respectively taking the title in those events.

&uot;These kids were excellent all year. They were good about showing up for practice and matches and worked hard,&uot;

In No. 2 boys’ doubles, two Rebels made what was probably the greatest comeback of the tournament. Jeremy Eidson and Jesse Thompson lost the first set of their finals match against Copiah’s Guess and Hanley without winning a game.

But Eidson made a subtle change in his game &045; borrowing coach Nicky Freeman’s racket before the second set. From there, Eidson and Thompson took the second set 7-6 and the third 6-3 to win their event.

&uot;I just changed rackets,&uot; Eidson said. &uot;That was the big difference.&uot;