West Polk Tennis Championships: George Jenkins Boys, Lakeland Girls Net Titles
Wed. March 20, 2013 at 12:56 a.m. | By Rick Brown
George Jenkins' Taylor Oliver returns a volley in her match against Lakeland's Meredith Marshall on Tuesday afternoon. (Photo by SCOTT WHEELER | THELEDGER)
By RICK BROWN | THE LEDGER
LAKELAND | When his No. 2 boys doubles team of Hunter Branstner and Carlos Ferriera closed their championship match with a victory, George Jenkins coach Gregg Mays gave a well-deserved fist pump.
His Eagles completed a sweep of all of the events in the West Polk County Championship finals on Tuesday. Now, he will have his entire team competing for county supremacy in today's county matches, which will pit the division champions of the East Polk schools against champions of the West, which in this case is Jenkins.
The finals will start at 2:30 p.m. at the Beerman Family Tennis Center.
"I'm not going to pretend, that's kinda nice," Mays said following the matches at Kelly Recreation Center.
The girls' side will have a little more variety but not by much.
Lakeland High won the team competition after winning five of the seven titles at the Beerman Family Tennis Center.
It is Lakeland's third consecutive team title.
"This is a big win for us," said coach Stacy Huey. "These are our friends and neighbors and we want to prove ourselves against them. It also reinforces that we're the No. 1 team in the (West) county."
Lakeland had 26 points, while Jenkins finished second with 22 points behind defending county champion Taylor Oliver.
Oliver, who won county while with All Saints last year, won her first West title with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Lakeland's Meredith Marshall.
Later, Oliver teamed with Caitlyn Ryan and won the No. 1 doubles title.
They will be playing against the East side today.
"There are a lot of emotions running through me now," Oliver said. "Happiness and me trying to calm down from that intense match."
Oliver breezed through the first set but ran into trouble in the second set. She was on serve at 3-4 but was down love-30 and then 30-40 before forcing deuce and eventually winning the game.
Also winning West titles and playing today are Lakeland's No. 2 Sarah Coleman, No. 3 Alexis Kelson, No. 3 Delaney Noris and No. 5 Mackenzie Pike. Also, Lakeland's No. 2 doubles of Kelson/Noris will play for the county title today.
Noris had the dramatic singles match of the day as she battled back from a set to beat Jenkins' Amy Whitehurst 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-0).
On the boys side, Jenkins' No. 1 player Gavin White got the Eagles started with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Lakeland Christian's Sam Moseley.
"This is my first time moving on," White, a senior, said. "I really wanted to make it to the (county finals).
"I played my best today," he said. "I was moving more and things seemed to work."
Also winning in singles for Jenkins were No. 2 Ferriera, No. 3 Branstner, No. 4 John Rios and Shin Zaw at No. 5.
The doubles teams of White and Rios will join Branstner and Ferriera in action today as well.