Trinity mixed doubles duo wins MAIS state championship

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Trinity Episcopal mixed doubles partners Grant Falkenheiner and Lucy Pyron had a knot in their stomachs as they watched each one of their six fellow teammates drop their final matches at the MAIS AA state tennis meet last Wednesday at Ridgleand Tennis Center.

With perhaps a little more at stake for the pair of seniors, they then completed what the rest of the Saints were unable to do.

In the final championship match of the day, Falkenheiner and Pyron took down Newton County Academy in three sets, 7-6, 2-6, 6-4.

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“I was very excited for them,” Trinity tennis coach Noreen Pyron said. “Other schools and people were watching. It was great.”

The road to the title came with its challenges, the twosome said, as a new year brought new positions for both. Falkenheiner previously played as the No. 2 boys singles, and Lucy was a member of the No. 1 girls doubles team. They were ultimately paired as this season’s mixed doubles competitors, and Falkenheiner said he is thankful for his partner.

“We were doing really well in the beginning of the first set (of the championship), and then I saw the finish line and froze,” he said. “The last three games I was choking. She dug us out of the hole and basically won it. If I didn’t have her, who knows what would have happened.”

Despite the back and forth nature of their final match, knowing the win was well received by the rest of the Saints made it all the more worth it, Falkenheiner said.

“(No. 2 girls doubles member) Mila (Robb) came up to me and gave me the biggest hug,” he said. “She told me she was really proud of me. They just lost their championship matches and they came over to congratulate us, and that must have been hard. They were all really supportive, and that just showed me what a great group of friends we have.”

Lucy said she was glad to win the championship after falling in the finals of the state tournament last season. She also said the title means a great deal because when the season started, she wasn’t sure how she would balance competition against male opponents.

“Playing against guys, they are usually stronger and hit harder,” Lucy said. “It was great for me to actually finally win a state championship (in my) senior year.”

For a team composed of all graduating players, Noreen said she is relieved Trinity was able to bring home at least trophy.

“I expected a couple of the other ones to wins theirs, and they didn’t because you never know,” she said. “We were very glad for them to come away with that one as state champions.”