Morgan girls win another AISA title in tennis, boys finish as runner-up

Published 7:11 pm Thursday, April 11, 2024

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Baxter Stinson thought he might give John T. Morgan Academy golf team a break after the girls’ team won a state championship and the boys took second place in the Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) state tournament at Lagoon Park Tuesday.

But it looks like the athletes in the program are ready to get back to work.

“I got texts from several of my players asking me when we would have our clinic to start working on next year,” Stinson said. “I think that shows you what we have built here at Morgan Academy.”

Girls nearly swept state

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The girls’ championship is the 16th state title and the 13th under Stinson. He knew they might have a chance to repeat as they only had to replace one player from last year’s lineup. It wound up being nearly a clean sweep for the girls.

“The girls were impressive all year long. We finished the regular season undefeated as a team and only dropped two individual matches,” Stinson said. “We only had to replace one girl this year, and we had someone step right in and take her place. They did a great job again at state, and we took home another championship.”

At No. 1 doubles, Martha Ann Beers and Kylie Calame beat Glenwood while the No. 2 doubles duo of Anna Brech and Mary Emily Frazer beat Glenwood.

In singles, Brech beat Lee Scott at the No. 2 position. Beers, the No. 3, beat Glenwood. No. 4-seed Hope Holladay 5-seed Emma Jones both beat Lee Scott players.

Boys with surprise finish

The Morgan Academy boys finishing second was a bit of a surprise. Stinson said they had to replace four players, but he said their hard work paid off, coming within one match of tying Trinity for another state title.

“They really worked their tails off to get back to state,” Stinson said. “I was proud of these boys who turned what should have been a rebuilding year into almost winning another state championship.”

All of the finals that Morgan Academy played were against Trinity School or Opelika.

No. 2 singles Grant Arrington won straight sets while 3-seed Jack Johnson won three sets. No. 1-seed Tayme Hammad and 4-seed Cam Patterson lost in three sets.

Hammad and Johnson lost in three competitive sets in the No. 1 doubles final while Patterson and Arrington won the No. 2 doubles in straight sets.

“This year’s state championship was one of the most competitive tournaments that I can remember. There was a lot of really good tennis that was exciting to watch,” Stinson said.

A championship program

Stinson said one of the things that makes the program so successful is how each player passes on their knowledge and experience along to the next group of players coming up.

“The kids learn from each other,” Stinson said. “The older players this year teach the younger players or their siblings what they’ve learned, and they pass it along to the next group. That’s just where our program is right now.

“They want to be a part of something special, and they don’t want their team to be the one that doesn’t make it back to state.”