Fort Dale girls win title; Seniors go out on top

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 4, 2005

MONTGOMERY - The Fort Dale Academy girls tennis team came close to making it a complete championship sweep on Tuesday, but came just one singles title shy.

Nevertheless, the Eagles came away with their sixth Alabama Independent School Association state championship as a team in the school's history at Lagoon Tennis Center. It marked Fort Dale's first title since 2000.

"We had the championship wrapped up (on Monday), but I didn't know it until (Tuesday," Fort Dale coach Johnny Mac Brown said. "There was a mathematical error made in tallying the total number of points. But I'm kinda glad that happened so that way our kids would come out fired up."

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The Eagles won every match they played in on Tuesday. Laura Skipper, Janie Mullins, Kayla Butts and Renee Scott won their singles matches and the No. 2 doubles team of Whitney Jacks and Butts won the state title.

The No. 1 doubles championship match was delayed by rain, but the team of Skipper and Mullins won the title in a third-set tiebreaker over Monroe Academy's Laura and Melanie Lazenby.

In addition to the girls championship, Conyers Poole needed less than an hour to win the state championship in No. 4 singles over Morgan Academy's Cain Sommerville.

Poole managed to shake the butterflies to win in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0.

"I was pretty anxious up until the second game of the second set," Poole said. "I won the first set and I knew if I could just win that first game, I would be able to keep him down."

The first game of the second set took almost as long as the entire match. Poole and Sommerville reached duce at least six times before Poole won the game.

"I just remembered playing him during the season and winning 6-1, 7-5," he said. "I just was hoping I could do just as well to win."

The singles title caps Poole's high school career at Fort Dale. This marked his first state title in tennis since he began playing for the Eagles in seventh grade.

"This is definitely a fun way to go out on top," Poole said.

Skipper, who is the only senior on the girls team, also goes out with her first state title since she was in eighth grade.

She captured the No. 1 singles title by beating Monroe Academy's Laura Lazenby in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4. The win, however, was bittersweet since she was playing against one of her better friends in tennis.

"There was no one more I wanted to play in the championship against more than Laura," Skipper said. "We began playing against each other in eighth grade, and we developed a friendship from there."

After Skipper advanced to the finals on Monday, she immediately left her court to cheer on Lazenby in her semifinal match.

"If I had lost to anybody today, I would have wanted it to be to (Laura). It's hard playing against a friend, but we bring out the best in each other."

Mullins went on to win the No. 2 singles title by knocking off Lee-Scott's Hannah Fisher. In No. 4 singles, Butts held off Lee-Scott's Austill Barrett, and in No. 5 singles, Scott cruised to a straight set victory over Morgan Academy's Amy McGucken.