Tennis team travels to State Tournament

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Julianna Ladner serves in the district tournament.

Joe Pearson, Editor

The Saint Joe tennis team is heading to Oxford, Mississippi today for the 2019 State Tournament. 

Under the guidance of Mrs. Mellissa Hall, the head coach and Ms. Kaylan Cooper, and assistant coach, the team has had an excellent showing. 

The team played particularly well in the District Tournament, where the team took home a region 6 2A district championship. 

Now, they are set on the next step: a state championship. 

Leading the way in the quest for a state championship is Alexandra Ladner and her sister Amelia, who are a number two seed in the tournament and competing in the girls’ doubles category. 

“Since the beginning of the year, Alexandra and I have been gearing up for the state tournament,” said Amelia Ladner. “We have worked especially hard this year with our coaches to prepare for this week.”

Alexandra added, “I am thrilled that we made it to the state tournament this year. I am glad our hard work has paid off, and we are hoping to win state!”

Julianna Ladner and Adriana Terrazas are the other girls’ doubles team competing in the state tournament. They too have high hopes of capturing a state title. They will face Eupora in the first round.

The Ladners will have to win four matches en route to the state championship. Their road starts today when the pair will take on Sacred Heart Catholic High School in their first round matchup. 

On the boys side of the event, Nicholas Brilley and Will Manheim carry the banner for the team. 

The two will play Clarkdale Attendance Center in their first round matchup. 

In the mixed doubles category, James Crosby and Mariette Istiphan will compete for the Bruins. They take on Saint Patrick Catholic High School today. 

James Crosby warms up before the district tournament.

This year’s tennis team is comprised mostly of young tennis players or relatively inexperienced players. However, there are several veterans on the team, such as the Ladners and Nicholas Brilley who have taken the lead and shown the younger players the intricacies of the game. The younger players have gained valuable experience this year that will go a long way in the future. 

Amelia Ladner said, “Our coaches have done a great job this year teaching the game to us and some of the younger players. They’ve helped us improve our technique, but they’ve also taught us strategy techniques that have really helped.” 

She added, “Although the team is young, we’ve meshed really well and the good chemistry has improved our play. I’m very excited for the future of our tennis program.”