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BA’s Rowley-Smith win mixed crown

JACKSON — Brookhaven Academy junior Ben Rowley and seventhgrader Nicole Smith captured the Academy State AA Mixed DoublesState Tournament title Wednesday at Parham Bridges Tennis Center.In the finals, they rebounded from an opening set loss to win 6-2,7-5.

Winning the boys division team title was Columbus Heritage with5 points. The girls division was captured by Presbyterian ChristianSchool with 4 points. The Brookhaven girls finished second with 3points and the boys were fourth with 1.

It was the first state championship for Rowley and Smith.

“Ben has been with us for three years and it is his first statechampionship,” said Brookhaven Academy coach Velma Estess. “Nicoleis just real athletic. She gets to it (the ball) a lot.”

Estess, who is returning to coach next year, said she was proudof the young Cougars who competed against the talented North teams.”It was a rebuilding year for us. We didn’t pull off state thisyear. They played really hard. The competition from the North wasunlike any I have seen in the past years I’ve gone up there. No onecould beat Oak Hill in the singles. We met some toughcompetition.”

Estess credited Brookhaven Country Club tennis pro Kory Kennywith helping the younger players this year. Kenny was with the teamyesterday.

” A lot of my kids take lessons from Kory,” explained Estess.”We’ll see a lot of improvement. He is going to be good for ourtennis. He’s taking up time with them.”

Brookhaven’s No. 1 girls singles player Anna C. Moak and No. 2player Sarah Taylor made it to the championship finals.

“They (Anna and Sarah) made it to the finals,” said Estess.”They got a point each for us. They helped us get runner-up.”

Estess said Brookhaven had 12 players competing, the most fromany school in AA.

“We had won 2 state championships in a row,” added Estess. “TheNorth was stronger this year. Our boys definitely met hardercompetition than they did in the past.”