Briarwood's Katelyn Bussey in the Class 4A/5A, Section 4 tournament on Monday, April 17, 2017, at Briarwood Christian School in Birmingham, Alabama.
BIRMINGHAM – The Briarwood Christian School boys and girls tennis teams flexed their muscle at the Class 4A/5A, Section 4 tournaments earlier this week, pulling off a full sweep of the competition and qualifying for the state tournament in the process.
“Our goal every year is to reach our potential individually and as a team and to finish well,” said coach Jeremy Mears.
Coming off a Class 6A state title last spring, the girls team set out to defend its title on Monday, April 17, at Briarwood’s tennis courts. Kateleigh Calloway, Callie Ware, Kara Coleman, Katelyn Bussey, Grayson Emerson and Keeton Cross participated in the Nos. 1-6 singles brackets in that order, each girl winning the section.
In the doubles portion of the tournament, Calloway and Coleman competed on the No. 1 line, Ware and Bussey at No. 2, and Emerson and Cross at No. 3. Each of them picked up wins as well.
Calloway, Ware and Bussey have each won state championships in recent years, and bring a winning pedigree to an already experienced roster.
“It’s a testament to how hard these kids work,” said Mears of how each of the six girls and boys was able to win his or her respective bracket. “It’s been a fun group to work with, because a lot of times we have to run them off the courts.”
The boys team was just as prolific the following day, as the Lions swept all nine brackets once again. Luke Wolf, John Wolf, Christian Ragsdale, Tyler Guerra, Alex Felts and Bennett Davis won the Nos. 1-6 singles brackets in that order. Wolf and Wolf teamed up to claim the No. 1 doubles crown, Ragsdale and Davis the No. 2 title, and Guerra and Felts the No. 3 championship.
The boys advanced to the state tournament last year and are looking for a stronger finish than last spring’s sixth place finish, but they are not going to look ahead too far.
“We try not to talk about state championships and hardware and trophies,” Mears said. “We try to focus on taking care of business each and everyday and controlling what we can control. Our kids have competed well and worked hard and given themselves an opportunity to have a high finish. That’s all we can ask right now.”
Mears said one of his favorite times with his team each year is the team-building activities the team participates in once it gets to the state tournament, as the kids get ready to take on the competition at the season-ending event.
“They get to do what they love and hopefully they’ll be focused and prepared to do their best,” he said.
The state tournament will be held next Monday and Tuesday, April 24-25, at the Mobile Tennis Center.
Grace Lovell, Campbell Ragsdale, Hunter Bussey and Ryan Border have also competed with the Briarwood tennis teams this season.