Tiger tennis opens up defense of state title

Thursday, March 27, 2008
Jenna Branaman and Lyssa Wiles go the net to shake hands with their opponents after their 8-2 win.

Some memories last forever, etched in the part of the brain connected to the heart.

Who could ever forget that moment in time on that glorious May day in Murfreesboro last year when Tori Richardson kept her championship promise to MCHS tennis coach Dickie Adkins, teaming up with Lyssa Wiles in displaying the courage, tenacity, and talent to capture the school's first ever state championship doubles title.

A full year has gone by since the duo shook the state bracket, upsetting predictor and pundit favorites to bring home the banner to Lewisburg. Richardson is off to college at Florida State and Wiles has new partner. Not just any partner.

Jenna Branaman, state quarterfinalist, and author of the memorable inspirational victory over heavy favorite Sarah Hinton from Page to win the Region 6 title joins Wiles this year to stand tall in defense of the title.

Adkins, the rock of the only tennis program in Marshall County for the last 18 years was snubbed by the Tennessean for coach of the year, but received his just due two weeks ago when he was named the Southern Section Coach of the Year for 2007 by The National Federation of High School Sports.

Spring is all about renewals and on Tuesday at the Marshall County Recreation Center, the MCHS tennis team opened up for their first home match versus Van Buren and looked as strong as ever.

"I was nervous", said Wiles. "Coach Adkins took me over to the state championship sign to remind me of what we have done. After that, I was ready to go."

Wiles easily defeated Dawaynna Neese 8-0 in her singles match and then she and Branaman looked sharp in blasting Neese and Lacey Zarifin 8-2 in doubles.

Branaman also had an eight-bagel win in her singles match over Emily Cope to begin her road back to Murfreesboro.

In other key matches, Rachel Wolfe and Allyson Van Hooser shut-out Cope and Dannon Measles 8-0 to solidify them as a doubles duo to be reckoned with.

Wolfe, a seasoned singles and doubles player who trains in Nashville and competes on a national circuit looked poised in defeating Zarifin 8-1.

Freshman Kelsey Richardson won her singles match 8-1 over Measles and lefty Allison Adcock threw an eight-bagel win over Megan Grissom to give the girl's singles an undefeated day.

Brette Blaylock and Carly Brown won the final doubles match at 8-3 over Harvey and Whittenburg to secure an overall eight zip home opener for the ladies from Lewisburg.

On the men's side, the match of the day was Drew Killian and Conner Kennedy versus KC Cope and Caleb Campbell. The match lasted for over an hour and a half, ending in the spring twilight with both teams leaving all they had on the court. The Van Buren team won the marathon 9-7.

Cope also had to go the distance in defeating Killian in singles 8-6 in a match that saw Killian come back from an 8-2 deficit before finally succumbing to the talented Cope.

Kennedy defeated Campbell 8-5 in singles and Josh Lewis gained an 8-4 win for MCHS over Kane Maynard.