Wesson tennis falls in South State title match

Published 9:33 pm Friday, May 5, 2017

In a familiar and frustrating manner, Wesson’s hope for a state tennis title fell again to perennial powerhouse St. Andrews.

For the third time in three seasons, the Cobras’ season ended at the hands of the Saints.

“This was the first time in a long time that we had all the pieces in place to really challenge the Saints for a spot in the state championship match,” Wesson head coach Rod Martin said. “We just came up a little short, but I am extraordinarily proud of our kids’ efforts. They worked so hard all season and never gave up. As a coach, I could not ask for anything more from them.”

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Martin knew trying to take down St. Andrews was a tall task to overcome, since the Saints have won the state title for 14 years in a row.

As Wesson’s tennis team travels to Oxford to compete in the individual state championships, Martin can only hope to get a chance like this again.

“It seems like every 3A team in the state was cheering for us, even other parochial schools who face a similar situation when opposing the Saints, a team that routinely competes with and defeats schools in 5A and 6A classifications,” Martin said. “Basically, the feeling is that someone has to beat them at some point, and I just have to question myself and ask, ‘Did I do everything I could as a coach?’ because chances like this one do not happen too often for smaller public schools like ours.”

Led by senior boys’ singles player and Jones County Junior College signee Erich Fischer, the Cobras plowed through their competition this season and were only challenged by former 2A rival Loyd Star and 5A opponent Brookhaven.

“Those were really close matches against very good teams, and we were fortunate to come out with 4-3 victories in those matches,” Martin said. “Their coaches have done a great job preparing their players to compete every time they step on the courts.”

It didn’t hurt that the Cobras have four additional seniors who will be playing at the junior college level with Fischer. Senior mixed doubles Mary Beth Munn and Logan Channell will join senior girl’s singles player Maya Granger at Co-Lin next year, and senior boys’ doubles player Ray Drane will be on the courts as a member of the Hinds Bulldogs tennis team.

Martin is looking forward with the hopes that the juniors and other underclassmen will appreciate the standard the seniors set for the team this year and step up to the challenge next year and beyond.

“We have some really good underclassmen who started for us this year, and I look forward to working with them so that we can take another shot at St. Andrews next year,” Martin said. “Maybe it’s the fourth time that will be the charm. At some point, David has to slay Goliath, right?”