Thursday, April 17, 2014
- by B.B. Branton
Life is good for UTC senior tennis player Alexa Flynn. Or so it
A first team all-Southern Conference doubles player,
with a 3.7 GPA and headed to law school in a couple of years.
She and her Chattanooga teammates have had a great
season (17-4, 7-2), are poised to make a run at the SoCon team championship and
open tournament play today at 3 p.m. against No.6 Ga. Southern.
The highlight of her one year of high school tennis (Houston
HS in Memphis) was winning the region and upsetting the defending state champ Kayla
McMurry in the state quarters who now plays for Tennessee.
But looking a little closer and life hasn’t been so
easy for the senior political science major.
She struggled with injuries (not able to use her
left hand) her senior year in high school and the first three years at UTC – but
injury-free this season - and found out her senior year in high school that her
mother, Katarina Flynn, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
“The doctors gave her five years to live and this is
the fifth year,” said the oldest of two sisters. “She has gone through lots of
chemo treatments and defied the doctors second assessment last summer of only
having two months to live. It’s been a year and she is still with us.”
After graduation, Flynn plans to go home to Memphis
and spend the summer with her mom.
“Realistically, we don’t think she will live past
Asked how she has coped with the tough times, she
quickly points to her coach and teammates.
“This is the best group of teammates I have ever
played with and they have been so supportive of me and have helped me though so
many tough times,” said Flynn. “My teammates my sophomore year were also great,
but the year’s team is phenomenal as is coach Clark.”
While, illness of her mom weighs heavy on the
22-year-old senior, she has pressing responsibilities of the aforementioned So
Con tournament this week and exams next week.
“I am ready for exams and am caught up on my school
work except for a 10-page paper I can crank out in about four to five hours,” Flynn
While academic finals are next week, Flynn and her
Blue and Gold teammates have three days of “tennis finals” and all graded
“We are excited about playing here in Chattanooga in
front of our fans and we are ready to make a run at the championship.”
“Alexa has worked hard on her fitness for the past
several months, her hard work on and off the court was rewarded with an
all-conference doubles choice and now she is ready to help us go for a title,”
said UTC women’s coach Jeff Clark.
Late Saturday afternoon, Flynn and company hope to
have acquired three passing grades (wins) with a championship trophy to show
for their efforts.
And a lifetime of memories of those who helped her
through the good and the bad.
State Tournament Maze: UTC players once were high
Alexa Flynn (Houston), Kaylene Chadwell (Centennial),
Kayla Jones (White Station), Alison Storie (Science Hill)
AAA State Singles: (2008-21012)
2008: Kayla McMurry (Bearden, So.) def. Kaylene Chadwell
(Centennial, Fr.) in quarters … Allison Hodges (Houston HS, Jr.) defeats
McMurry in semis and beats Kelly Gray (Siegel Jr.) for the state title.
2009 - Chadwell (soph) is injured and does not
play in the state ... McMurry (Jr.) def. defending state champion Hodges
(Houston, Sr.) in semis and beats Alison Storie (Science Hill, Fr) in finals
2010 - Alexa Flynn (Houston Sr.) gets revenge for
Hodges and beats defending state champ McMurry (Sr.) in the quarters
... Chadwell beat Flynn in the semis ... this was Fynn's last high school match
... played only one year of high school tennis and beats the defending champ in
Chadwell (Jr.) beats Mallory Hutton (Shelbyville
Sr) in finals gp ... Chadwell loses 5 games in three matches
2011 – Two future Mocs meet in quarters as Kayla
Jones (White Station, Jr.) beats Alison Storie (Sci. Hill Jr.) … Jones beats
Payton Robinette (Maryville Fr.) in semis ... defending champ Chadwell beats Jones
in three sets for second title …
- Jones (Sr) loses in semis to Josie Rogers (Dobyns Bennett Fr.) who in
turn loses to Ashlee Boles (Siegel Jr.) in the finals
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com