Lakeside High School tennis player Megan Gunnels wasn't bothered by the oppressive heat or an aggressive opponent during the Region 3-AAAA tournament Tuesday at Lakeside.
Whenever Gunnels needed strength in her No. 2 singles match, she just looked courtside and found her inspiration - the region trophy.
"I'm focusing on that right there," Gunnels said to coach Donnie Burch.
The Lakeside senior set the tone with an early win against Greenbrier High School's Ellica Moore in the region finals, and the Lady Panthers held on for a 3-2 victory over their county rivals.
"Winning region definitely means the most this year, especially since we lost to them in the first match of the season," Gunnels said. "I had confidence in our team. We all came together when we had to."
Lakeside senior Megan Gunnels scored early for the Panthers in the Region 3-AAAA tennis finals.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The same could be said for the Augusta Christian School tennis team. The Lions pasted both of their foes 5-0 to win the Georgia Independent Schools Association Class AAA title Wednesday at Newman Tennis Center.
Nate Tingen, Chris Motes and Joe Tingen swept through singles for AC, as did doubles teams Troy Freeman and Richard Holley, and Alex Newton and Paul Moore. The Lions also won the state crown in 2002.
"That was our best tennis of the year," AC coach Mike Giddens said. "That tells the character of this team."
The Lakeside boys didn't have any problems Tuesday in the Region 3-AAAA event at Petersburg Racquet Club. The Panthers pounded their way to the title, as expected.
But Lakeside's Michael Paul wants some respect to go along with the trophy.
"People at Lakeside know we're good, but they just seem to think it's a given that we're going to state and the final four," the No. 1 singles player said. "They don't seem to realize how many hours we put in, and the physical effort that goes into the sport."
Brooke Cadle can relate. The Lakeside senior paired with Elizabeth Watt to pull out a grueling win at No. 1 doubles to earn the clinching point at region.
"I didn't want to lose the region to Greenbrier in my senior year," Cadle said. "We wanted to make sure we kept the 13 years of region championships going."
Greenbrier's No. 1 singles player Addison Price picked up a quick point, and the Lady Pack got another point when Dana Makerson outlasted Lakeside's Meredith Manley in three sets at No. 3 singles.
After Gunnels scored her win, Lakeside secured the second point when Amy Curtis and Disha Chhabra cruised to victory at No. 2 doubles.
Greenbrier's Bianca Redfern and Ami Flowers tried to stage a comeback in No. 1 doubles, but it wasn't quite enough to end Lakeside's region run.
For Lady Pack coach Kim Buchanan, that was what hurt the most.
"I'm certainly proud of how far they've come, and proud of the way they played today," Buchanan said. "I'm frustrated because it could have been anybody's game today."
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