Trinity tennis heads to South State

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, May 1, 2012

NATCHEZ — The Saints will go marching to Brookhaven Academy Wednesday with tennis rackets in hand and a state tournament berth on their minds.

The Trinity Episcopal tennis team will be sending 10 athletes to compete in the MAIS Class AA South State tournament in Brookhaven Wednesday. Although most of her players are seeded lower than host Brookhaven Academy, Trinity tennis coach Cheryl Givens said she feels good about her squad’s chances of advancing.

Givens said last year, when Trinity was still in Class A, a South State tournament berth was automatic. This season, Givens said her players had to compete for district spots.

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“Brookhaven has most of the No. 1 spots, except for Madeline Iles, who has our No. 1 spot in girl’s singles,” Givens said.

“We won’t have to meet up with Brookhaven probably until the finals, so I think we have a pretty good chance of advancing some of our kids to the finals to be able to go to state.”

Givens said her players have been very enthusiastic about practice during the season, which has helped her squad make it to South State.

“The ones that are out here really like to play tennis,” Givens said. “We started out with about 35 kids wanting to play. A lot of it was middle schoolers, but obviously, we only have four courts, so we had to split up practice between middle school and high school.”

That caused the numbers to dwindle a bit, Givens said, but Trinity still had a lot of participation in tennis this spring.

“Even the ones that knew they wouldn’t get to play matches on a regular basis came out,” Givens said. “I wish we had more (space), because we have a lot of kids that really want to play.”

On the girls’ team, there are three seniors and one junior, and everyone else is in middle school, Givens said. For the boys, there’s one senior, junior and sophomore, and a number of freshmen, with two middle school boys playing on a regular basis on varsity, Givens said.

“There’s a lot of younger kids wanting to play, and a lot of them have already signed up for summer tennis with Henry Harris at Duncan Park,” Givens said.

“They’re really wanting to stay focused on it throughout the year, and that’s kind of been the problem with tennis. Kids go from football to basketball and then have to transition to tennis, so they really don’t have time to practice in between.”

Girls matches begin at 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Brookhill on Natchez tennis courts in Brookhaven. Boys matches will start at 11 a.m.