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State tourney tough for FDA tennis

Fort Dale Academy’s men’s and women’s tennis teams recently competed in the AISA state tournament in Montgomery at Lagoon Park.

On April 8 and 9, seeds one through five competed in singles matches and then the top four paired off for first and second seed doubles.

On the women’s’ side, Victoria Son was the No. 1 seed for FDA, with Hayden Fail second, Maire Scott (who was the fifth seed state champion in 2018), fourth seed Jamie Pickens and fifth seed, Claire Hutson.  The boys’ top-five include first seed Nate Richardson, second seed Brody Stringer, third seed Caleb Rogers, fourth seed Mac Richardson and fifth seed Christopher Schofield.

Richardson was ranked third in the bracket and faced an opponent from Lee Scott in the first round and gained a victory. After the win, he went on to fall to Tuscaloosa Academy in the semifinals against the only player to have beaten him during the season. Stringer had a tough draw, according to coach Jennie Hamilton.

“He faced a player from Morgan Academy who went on to win state at that seed,” she said.

Rogers defeated a player from Pike Liberal Arts in the first round and lost in a third-set tiebreaker in the semi finals to Lee Scott Academy. Williamson lost in the first round to Monroe Academy, as did Schofield.

“Our first seed boys doubles team of Richardson and Stringer had an impressive win over Lakeside Academy in the first round,” Hamilton said.  “They advanced to the semifinals and faced Tuscaloosa Academy and had a tough loss.”

Rogers and Schofield at second seed doubles lost in he first round to eventual state champion Morgan Academy.

On the girls’ side, Hamilton said Son had an unlucky draw and fell to Morgan Academy in the first round. Fail beat Springwood Academy in the first round, but lost to Tuscaloosa Academy in the semifinals. Scott made it to the finals for the second year in a row, defeating Springwood Academy in the first round and Pike in the semifinals. In the finals, Scott fell in a third-set tiebreaker to Morgan Academy. Pickens easily moved past Glenwood in the first round but faced an “ominous” opponent from Morgan Academy and her quest for a title ended in the semifinals. Hutson, at fifth seed also made it to the championship round, defeating Lee Scott Academy in the first round, Glenwood in the second round and falling  to Morgan Academy in the finals.

“2019 was a great year for Fort Dale tennis,” Hamilton said. “With all of the players we have returning, 2020 looks very promising for this Eagle team. I’m so proud of this group. They have worked hard and improved so much. We all enjoy being out on the courts tighter, and we are not ready for this season to some to an end. It was far too short.”

Hamilton said the future looks bright for tennis at Fort Dale Academy.

“I expect great things from these players in the coming years,” she said. “Not just the 10 players that competed at state. Our girls team, particularly has great depth and so much potential. I’m very excited about the future of fort Dale tennis.”

Hamilton also had some special thanks to offer.

“I want to than Elizabeth Matthews for helping coach this year,” she said. “We are so fortunate to have her lend her expertise. The players really listen when she gives advice on ways to improve their games. Having been a player herself and having coached several state championship teams, her time and tips are invaluable.”