Monagan wins state title for Green Wave

Published 11:33 am Wednesday, May 3, 2023

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RIDGELAND — It was a rough and tough stretch for several members of Cathedral High School’s varsity tennis team who were playing at the 2023 MAIS Class 5A State Tournament at Ridgeland Tennis Center last Monday and Tuesday.

Five of the seven members of the team had to deal with not only having the chance to compete for a state championship, but as Cathedral tennis coach Beth Foster noted, also having to take final exams for their duel enrollment classes at Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s Natchez campus.

One of the two players who did not have to go through having to do all of that was Alex Monagan, the South No. 1 seed. He cruised to a 6-0, 6-0 win over North No. 2 seed Arnav Thakur of Pillow Academy in the semifinals last Monday morning and then took down North No. 1 seed Holden Cooke of Bayou Academy, 6-3, 6-0 to win the Boys’ No. 1 singles state championship.

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Yet Foster said she didn’t expect Monagan to play as well as he did. And she added that Monagan could have played better despite not being well physically.

“I was kind of nervous because he was sick. He wasn’t feeling well. To me, he did not play to his potential,” Foster said.

Only one of Cathedral’s three teams that did advance to the finals was the mixed doubles team of Huddy Lees and Grayson Guedon, the South No. 1 seed. They defeated the North No. 2 seed team of Baker Bush and Caroline Horne from Washington School, 6-2, 6-3 last Monday afternoon before falling to North No. 1 seed Annabelle Simmons and Henry Hiatt of Lamar School last Tuesday afternoon, 0-6, 3-6.

Perhaps the biggest surprise from the semifinals came in Girls’ No. 1 Doubles when South No. 1 seed Bella Milligan and Graci Gamberi was upset by the North No. 2 seed Jane Kimmel Buford and Sarah Douglas Thatch from Pillow Academy, 1-6, 5-7, last Monday afternoon.

Natalie Smith and Lacy Welch, the South No. 2 seed, lost to Izzy Hodges and Madeline Carroll, the North No. 1 seed from Pillow Academy, 2-6, 3-6, in a semifinal-round match last Monday morning.

Foster said having to do two things in one day took its toll on the majority of her team, especially the girls on Monday.

“Some of them had classes on Monday and Tuesday. Some just on Monday. Some just on Tuesday. Then they had to straight to Ridgeland to play their tennis matches,” Foster said. “Needless to say, their minds weren’t there. They were somewhere else. The whole team was just a little off for a normal day for us. But, from what they could give, they gave 100 percent.

“It’s heartbreaking for all them, especially the seniors, not going further. Except for Alex, Graci, and Lacy, who will be back next year.”