BA rules AA state tennis

Published 5:00 am Thursday, May 7, 2009

JACKSON — Tennis is a “big deal” at Brookhaven Academy,according to athletic director Barry Gray, and so when the schoolneeded a tennis coach Gray didn’t just get a parent to lead theteam.

Gray hired Brookhill tennis director David Misner, a formercollege coach and 22-year teaching professional. The combination ofMisner’s knowledge and Brookhaven Academy’s talented lineupresulted the Mississippi Private School Association Class AA boysand girls championships Wednesday at Parham Bridges TennisCenter.

Eighth-grader Will Hickman won No. 1 boys singles, freshmanTerah Winborne won No. 2 girls singles, Myles Melancon andeighth-grader Alex Gray (Barry’s son) won No. 1 boys doubles,juniors Austin Watts and Jake Baker won No. 2 boys doubles andfreshman Dudley Lampton and senior Nicole Smith won mixed doublesfor Brookhaven Academy. Hickman, Winborne and both boys doublesteams won state titles for the second straight year. Lampton won asingles state title last year, but was moved to mixed doubles priorto the district tournament.

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The Cougars scored seven points to win the boys division for thefifth straight year and the Lady Cougars scored four points to winthe girls division for the second straight year.

Misner and his wife Jennifer moved to Brookhaven in 2000 afterspending 13 years in Greenville. Their youngest son, Stuart, helpedcontinue the tradition of Brookhaven High School tennis with fourstate championships and two team titles before David Misnerresigned to concentrate on his teaching duties at Brookhill in2005. Misner, who has coached at Belhaven College in Jackson andMississippi University for Women in Columbus, decided to get backinto coaching when Gray called him last fall. It was a goodmatch.

“We’ve had a great year,” said Misner, who replaced Alan Taylor,who resigned as the Brookhaven Academy high school coach and alsothe teaching pro at Brookhaven Country Club to take a job inBirmingham. “I coached All-Americans at Belhaven and the NationalPlayer of the Year at MUW and it is more fun coaching high schoolkids.

“It is a privilege coaching these kids. We didn’t play enoughmatches (seven) to get a feel how to tweak the lineup to have thebest shot as repeating as boys and girls champions, but we did it afew weeks before district and it worked out.”

“Coach Misner has done a good job with us. He is always sayingpositive things and encouraging us,” said Hickman, who was rankedNo. 40 in the boys 14s singles in the South last year. Hickman isgetting private lessons from David Misner’s oldest son, David, aformer high school state champion and college coach who recentlytook a teaching pro position in Madison.

Hickman is the son of former BHS football coach AndrewHickman.

Brookhaven Academy seniors Emily Ryan and Katie Beth Case lostin the finals in No. 1 girls doubles and Brookhaven Academy seniorRosemary Moak narrowly lost a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 decision in thesemifinals in No. 1 girls singles. Ryan and Case won a doublestitle last year. Moak won a singles title as a freshman and reachedthe singles final as a sophomore and junior.

In addition to winning the two state team titles Wednesday,Brookhaven Academy appears on its way to winning the MPSA Class AAAll-Sports Award for the third time in the past five years.

“We take a lot of pride in winning the all-sports trophy andwinning both titles today helped us pick up a lot of points towardwinning it again,” Gray said. “We won boys basketball, finishedthird in girls basketball and reached the semifinals in boys soccerthis year.”

The Cougars also captured the District 4-AA football crown.