Regional tournament gives experience for young Loyd Star players

Published 1:10 pm Monday, April 8, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — The best match in the MHSAA Class 1 Region 7 tournament came between Loyd Star eighth graders Camille Creel and Julia Speeg against Bogue Chitto’s Jacey Hutson and Madison Moak Friday. It took a tiebreaking set to determine who would have a chance at reaching state.

The four players battled by trading rallies and outstanding shots. Creel and Speeg scored the winning point to earn a chance at the state championship and Moak and Hutson fell to their knees in letdown and fatigue. 

While Creel and Speeg did not reach the state tournament, they had a phenomenal day in the regional tournament. Creel said they had grown through hard work, stressful matches and practices.

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“We learned to not give up and work hard,” Creel said. “If you give up before the match you will lose. Have positive mindsets. When we tied in the tiebreaker we felt pressure but we fought back.”  

This season was the first season she has played doubles with Speeg and the first season Speeg has played tennis. Creel said she convinced Speeg to give it a try. In their first year playing together, the pair came one match shy of playing in the individual state tournament. 

“Tennis is really stressful but fun. They say it is easy, they lie,” Speeg said. 

She was trying to catch her breath after running all over the court Friday. Her time outside of tennis is spent playing basketball, cheer and dance. Speeg said running in tennis is a challenge. 

Creel explained the quick cutting and changing of directions is hard especially when players can be deceptive with their shots

The Loyd Star team will play in the playoffs this week on the road. Speeg said her goal is to continue to get better and win. 

“As long as we do our best that is all we can do,” Speeg said. She gave one short parting message, “Jesus loves you.”