Fab five

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Morgan tennis quintet grows up playing game together

By George L. Jones

The Selma Times-Journal

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The boys’ tennis team at Morgan Academy is done waiting its turn.

Runner-up finishes at the past two AISA state tournaments haven’t been good enough for the players.

But there is another reason for the added urgency this season.

The top five players, who have basically been playing together since middle school, are all seniors now.

This is the last chance to move what’s standing in front of them out of the way.

“I was 11 or 12 when I started; we’ve all been friends for a long time,” said No. 1 singles player Drew Pomeroy. “As long as we’ve been playing together, no one’s ever really been mad at anybody else. No one’s ever gotten a grudge, and all of a sudden we’re in the top five.

“I guess it worked out well.”

Pomeroy, along with Rhett Rhyne, Houston Searcy, Cain Sommerville and Reese Armstrong, get along with each other both on and off the court.

That fact translates really well into doubles play, where the team consistently performs well.

Rhyne and Sommerville’s win at the No. 2 doubles spot in last year’s state tournament was the most recent success in tournament team play.

But individual matches are a different story. The chemistry factor goes only as far as teammates being able to cheer from the sidelines, and the Senators haven’t quite been able to pull through.

“It’s not good,” Sommerville said when addressing how placing second for two years in a row sits with the team. “It’s not fun coming in second. But we’ve done some things different this year. We have a different No. 5 guy (Armstrong). We went to clinics a lot more, and we started getting more serious.”

The team is more determined to win this year, but that doesn’t mean there’s no time for fun and games.

As much as their antics keep the players sane, it may drive their coach a little bit crazy.

“We have fun maybe more than we should sometimes,” boys coach Baxter Stinson said, a former Morgan player who has been with team for seven years. “We hope to win state, but we’ll see what happens when we get there.”

The seniors’ departure will be hard on everyone because they have been part of the program for so long.

But the only thing that can make that transition sting a little less will be winning a state title.

“It’s going to be tough,” Stinson said. “They’ve all grown up together – it’s been me coaching and them learning. But we’ve got some good young players coming up.”