This is getting redundant.
The Class 1A-3A state tennis tournament in Mobile on Tuesday ended with familiar faces holding the trophies.
The Montgomery Academy boys and girls tennis teams took home the titles, marking the sixth straight for the girls and the third straight for the boys.
“I am so proud of those girls,” Montgomery Academy girls coach Denise Tinney said. “For them to be able to do six in a row starting from the seventh grade is such a huge accomplishment. You can’t do anything else, you’re perfect.”
Montgomery Academy won handily over second-place Houston Academy 72-48, to send out the retiring Tinney on top.
“I have two sophomores and I said, ‘It’s time for you guys to step up, you’re the leaders now,'” Tinney said. “I was already coaching for next year. But in that, I started crying because I’ve gotten close to the girls. I put my heart and soul in it and they are my tennis family.”
No. 3 singles Gretchen Lee, No. 4 Lee Ellen Bryan, No. 5 Hannah Snider and No. 6 Holland Griffin all took home individual titles. The No. 3 doubles team of Snider-Griffin also earned the crown.
No. 1 singles Hollan Smith fell to Houston Academy’s Natalie Voss and No. 2 Mary Elizabeth “May May” Massey lost to her sister Nicola Voss. Massey strained her quadriceps in the singles finals, putting her participation in the No. 1 doubles final in jeopardy.
“I told her, ‘May May, we do not have to go out there,'” her doubles partner Smith said. “But she was like, ‘No, we’re playing.'”
Smith and Massey faced the same Houston Academy foes that ended their singles careers in the No. 1 doubles finals and were able to win in three sets.
“It was our senior year and it was our last match, we just wanted to go out and get revenge on them,” Smith said. “The moment we won we were just in tears because she put in so much effort to win that match with a hurt leg.”
The Eagles boys won three singles finals and two doubles. No. 3 singles Bo Torbert, No. 4 Bonner McLemore and No. 5 Allen Millsap earned the singles titles.
No. 2 Will Spain-Guy Hood and No. 3 McLemore-Millsap won in doubles.
MA defeated rival Trinity 67-51, giving boys coach David Bethea his 12th title in 34 seasons with the Eagles.
“It never gets old, each one is kind of different,” Bethea said. “You’re battling different teams, no tournament is the same. It’s wonderful that our girls were here and they won too, it’s just a fun time.”
After holding a one-point lead after Day 1, Trinity lost four head-to-head semifinals matches against the Eagles to put a team title out of reach.
The Wildcats’ No. 2 singles Brennan Colley and No. 6 Charlie Trotman won singles titles.
“It was a very good year,” Trinity coach Jack Schweers said. “We had a lot of good things happen and I sure enjoyed it. We had our brothers from MA on the ropes a couple of times. But you’ve got to take your hats off to them, they were pretty good. What’s that, number 100?”
While not quite 100, the Eagles two state titles gave them No. 50 and 51 in school history to become one of 10 schools in the AHSAA to accomplish the feat.
“I’m proud to be at the helm when the Athletic Department reaches a milestone of this magnitude,” MA athletic director Anthony McCall said. “Needless to say, this accomplishment is attributed to the tireless efforts of the hundreds of student-athletes who have competed for the Montgomery Academy over the years, and the coaches who invested their lives.”
The season’s end marks the end of an era for girls coaches Tinney and Vickie Parrish from Trinity. The Trinity girls finished ninth and were awarded the Sportsmanship Award, an honor voted by all players and coaches.
“Denise and I had a sweet hug at the end and were teared up,” Parrish said. “I think both of us cried when we saw a parent, and every time a kid came off the court and we knew it was the end.”
Tinney ends her career with six state titles in nine seasons as the varsity coach. Parrish won titles in 2007 and 2008 as a member of Class 4A.
“She’s been with us all six years, every match, always there to coach us and just a good life coach off the court,” MA senior Mary Elizabeth Massey said, who has played varsity since seventh grade. “We wanted her to go out just as we wanted to go out, winning. I think it just brought us all closer and made it all perfect. A perfect happy ending.”