Five teams compete in state tennis tourney

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NATCHEZ — Tennis is catching fire in Natchez, and five local USTA teams helped fan the flames.

The teams competed in the USTA Mississippi state tennis tournament Nov. 11-14. The 6.5 Stout-Natchez women’s team went the furthest of all Natchez teams, making it all the way to the finals.

The Stout-Natchez team drew the No. 4, or wildcard seed for the 6.5 semifinals, and beat their semifinal opponent before falling to their Jackson counterpart in the finals. Lou Ellen Stout, captain of Stout-Natchez, said she was pleased her team made it as far as they did.

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“I was very proud considering that my team was there from 10 a.m. Thursday to Sunday,” Stout said.

“To be the wildcard going into the match, I knew we could do it, but we weren’t able to pull it out. They were just the better team. I don’t think our best lineup could’ve beaten them.”

The 7.5 Pyron-Natchez women’s team, the 6.5 Beard-Natchez women’s team and the 6.5 Dickens-Natchez women’s joined Stout-Natchez. The lone men’s team was the 5.5 Carter-Natchez squad, captained by Mark Carter.

Originally, Carter’s group, which only started playing tennis last summer, was supposed to be in the 5.0 beginner’s bracket.

“They didn’t have enough people to have a 5.0 division,” Carter said. “We were the only 5.0 team to show up.”

Carter’s team won two matches and lost four in the 5.5 division.

“It was a good learning experience,” Carter said.

Stout said she was glad five teams from Natchez made the tournament, and commended the players for this year’s performance.

“I couldn’t ask for a better tournament,” she said. “(Our team) won state last year, and to win two state tournaments would be really hard.

“I’m very proud. It’s showing that Natchez has a strong tennis thing going on here.”

Carter said he hopes more men’s teams will be able to make it to the state level in the future.

“It was mostly women’s teams, and it would be nice to get more men together,” he said.

“I think it was great that there was that much participation (overall). It says there’s some tennis talent here in town, and people are playing.”