Wednesday, May 25, 2011
- by B.B. Branton
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- In a near repeat performance from last year, Montgomery Bell Academy rallied to defeat Baylor, 4-2, for its second straight BlueCross Spring Fling D-II AA state tennis championship.
MBA senior Russell Anderson clinched the team title with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 against Jackson Pride at No.3 singles.
"It's great to be the last guy on the court two straight years and help our team win back-to-back titles," said Anderson who won on the same court (at No.4) to clinch the 2010 crown.
A year ago, Baylor took the doubles point, but MBA won singles matches at No.1 and 4-5-6.
This year, MBA (14-3) won at Nos. 2-3-4-5 for the crown. Baylor finished at 9-3.
"I said this at our team banquet that if my life was on the line and I wanted one guy on the court to win a life-saving point it would be Russell," said first year head coach Tom Boysen.
"This is an amazing group of guys who worked hard to repeat."
Boysen noted that MBA lost its top two players to graduation a year ago and it took most of the year for the guys to settle in to their place in the lineup.
"The upperclassmen gave great leadership at the top which was so important in our win," he stated.
Familiar Foes: At No.5, MBA sophomore Andrew Graham rallied to defeat eighth grader Jack Gray, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 to give MBA a 3-2 advantage before Anderson closed it out.
"Jack beat me two summers ago and I won the year before that," Graham stated.
After Graham lost the opening set, coach Boysen told Graham that the top four guys all won their opening sets.
"Knowing that our team was doing well was encourging and helped settle me down," Said Graham.
Strong Baylor Doubles: MBA coach Boysen pointed out how good Baylor's doubles teams are.
"Thet play doubles about as good any other team I have seen lately. They win the doubles and then put so much pressure on you to win four of six singles matches."
Back-to-Back: MBA has now won seven boys titles and the first time to repeat since the 1965-66 titles. Big Red was led those two years by two-time state singles champion Greer Cummings.
The Big Red also won it all in 1987, 1995 and 2003 before last year.
Current Team Format: The current format to determine a team champion - head to head matches - has been in place for the past 24 years; 1988-2011.
Prior to that, the team title was determined by points earned in the individual singles and doubles tournaments - one team point for each win.
MBA is the last boys' team to win a title under the old format as Bill Cherry won the singles final, his second of three championships, to give MBA the crown against runner-up Baylor.
Harpeth Hall is the last girls' team to win it all under the old format.
The Honeybears clinched it in 1987 as Buffy Baker-Mary Lauren Barfield won the state doubles.
Baker, who played at Florida State, is the current Harpeth Hall coach.
MBA 4, Baylor 2
Doubles (1 team point)
1. Anderson Scarpa-Bo Bryneston (Bay) def. Palmer Campbell-Russ Anderson, 8-5
2. Alex Cooper-Nathan Schley (Bay) def. Andrew Karpos-Davis Thrailkill, 8-3.
1. Anderson Scarpa (Bay) def. Palmer Campbell, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1
2. Davis Trailkill (MBA) def. Nathan Schley, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2)
3. Russ Anderson (MBA) def. Jackson Pride, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3;
4. Andrew Karpos (MBA) def. Alex Cooper, 6-3, 7-5
5. Andrew Graham (MBA) def. Jack Gray, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3.
Records: Baylor (9-3), MBA (14-3)
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com