UTC Tennis Senior Flynn Relies on Faithful Friends

UTC Poised For SoCn Title Run

Thursday, April 17, 2014 - by B.B. Branton
UTC senior tennis player Alexa Flynn
UTC senior tennis player Alexa Flynn
- photo by Dale Rutemeyer

Life is good for UTC senior tennis player Alexa Flynn. Or so it seems.

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 the summer.”

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 stated.

While academic finals are next week, Flynn and her Blue and Gold teammates have three days of “tennis finals” and all graded pass-fail.

“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 school foes

Alexa Flynn (Houston), Kaylene Chadwell (Centennial), Kayla Jones (White Station), Alison Storie (Science Hill)

TSSAA 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 first round.

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 …

2012 - 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 william.branton@comcast.net

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