MA boys runner-ups for fourth straight year

Published 10:27 pm Wednesday, April 22, 2015

At left, Morgan Academy’s Will Sherrer hits a return shot as part of his singles No. 2 singles championship Wednesday at Lagoon Park during the Alabama Independent School Association championships.--Daniel Evans

At left, Morgan Academy’s Will Sherrer hits a return shot as part of his singles No. 2 singles championship Wednesday at Lagoon Park during the Alabama Independent School Association championships.–Daniel Evans

Morgan Academy’s boys’ tennis team finished second in the Alabama Independent School Association championship Wednesday at Lagoon Park.

The Senators were nearly guaranteed a top-two finish entering the day with four players in singles match championships and two teams playing for doubles championships as well.

The goal Wednesday was easier said than done — find a way to knock off juggernaut Tuscaloosa Academy, which had claimed the last three boys and girls tennis championships. Instead, the Knights showed there’s still a big gap between them and everyone else as Tuscaloosa won every single boys match contested on Wednesday to run away with a fourth straight title. The school also won the girls championship.

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Morgan Academy’s boys had to settle for their fourth consecutive runner-up finish, but head coach Baxter Stinson said they had nothing to hang their heads about.

“I’m so proud of the work they’ve put in and the effort they’ve put forth. We were just playing a better team and it wasn’t our day,” Stinson said. “These kids have worked so hard, and I can’t ask any more of them. I really can’t. I’m proud of them and glad to be associated with them.”

The Senators only team loss during the regular season had been to Tuscaloosa Academy and although that was the case again Wednesday, many of the matches were much closer the second time around.

Grant McAllister defeated Morgan’s Will Sherrer in the No. 2 singles championship; Weston Hamiter took down Elliott Oslund in the No. 3 singles; Blake Wright knocked off Willis Watt Jones in the No. 4 title match; and Mason Perkins fell to Samuel Morrow in the No. 5 championship. All four matches were between Morgan and Tuscaloosa players.

Tuscaloosa’s Mason Lake also defeated Morgan’s Peyton Mathiews in a semifinals match that was played last week.

Stinson said what Tuscaloosa has done is impressive and shows the school and community’s dedication to tennis.

“They play tournaments year around and they grew up playing tennis,” Stinson said. “We have kids who thought it would be fun to start playing tennis. I think that’s the difference. They won everything they played today.”

Morgan’s duo of Sherrer and Perkins gave Tuscaloosa its sternest test of the day in the No. 2 doubles championship. Morgan won the first set in a tiebreak 7-6 but couldn’t keep the momentum going. Hamiter and Wright stole control back with a dominant performance in the second set and won the match 6-7, 6-1, 6-1.

“It’s a little disappointing. We beat them the first time we played them, and then to win the first set and think we’re good, it’s a little upsetting,” Sherrer said. “But, it’s part of it. Nothing you can do about it.”

Sherrer, who took part in a singles and doubles championship, said he started cramping up as the match, which was among the longest of the day, kept going, but he said it didn’t affect his play. Peyton Mathiews and Elliott Oslund fell in the No. 1 doubles championship to Lake and McAllister, but Wednesday’s match was a lot tighter than one the foursome had played earlier this year.

“We went into it knowing it was going to be a really hard match for us to win if we were able to pull it out,” Mathiews said. “We were able to get three more games [this time]… We improved overall but still weren’t able to pull it out.”

For Senators’ seniors Mathiews, Oslund and Sherrer it was the final time they’d put on a Morgan uniform. All of them agreed that a fourth straight runner-up finish wasn’t such a bad way to go out.

“I was really hoping we’d get first place this year, but second place is still second place,” Oslund said.


Pearce wins championship girls singles championship

Morgan Academy took part in seven championship tennis matches Wednesday at Lagoon Park. Only one of those matches ended in a Senators’ victory, and it came from one of the youngest members on the team.

Mary Ashlyn Pearce, a seventh grader, won the No. 5 singles girls championship 6-2, 6-3 over Glenwood Academy’s Morgan Kennon. She was the only Senators’ girls player to take part in a championshi match Wednesday.

“It was amazing. She’s a seventh grader and probably didn’t even think she would be in the top five this year,” said Morgan Academy tennis coach Baxter Stinson. “She had a spark halfway through the season and took ownership of it and won a state championship.”

Tuscaloosa’s girls won the overall girls championship for the fourth consecutive year. Glenwood Academy finished second overall.