Henry, Shelton shine at Wilkerson Memorial

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 23, 2002

[04/22/02]Jordan Henry and Caitlin Shelton continued their romp through the tennis world this spring with impressive wins in the George Wilkerson Memorial youth tennis tournament Sunday at Halls Ferry Park.

Henry, an eighth-grade Vicksburg High star who won the division singles title last week, lost only one set in cruising to the boys’ 16-year-old title. He beat Brandon’s Aaron Decamp 1-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the championship match. In two other matches, Henry lost a total of four games.

Shelton, a Warren Central star who also won a district singles title, lost to Starkville’s Caroline King in the semifinals of the girls’ 12-year-olds singles competition but teamed with Vicksburg’s Kerrie-Taylor Leech to win the 14-year-olds doubles.

They beat Brookhaven’s Ann Jacobs and Emily Ryan 6-4, 6-1 in the final.

Several other Vicksburg-area players turned in strong showings, including St. Aloysius’ Bonney Neill, Steven Faulks, Jeremy White, Warren Central’s Chase Koestler and the team of Cass Dodgen and Daniel McFatter.

Faulks lost to Madison’s Jason Womack in the boys’ 12-year-olds finals, 6-3, 6-1. White was third in the 14-year-olds’ division, beating Jackson’s Jay Hogg 6-4, 6-0 in a consolation match. Dodgen and McFatter, from Port Gibson, advanced to the boys’ 18-year-olds’ doubles finals before losing.

Neill finished second, falling to Brandon’s Meg Joyner in the girls’ 14-year-olds’ final.

The tournament is named for former Vicksburg resident George Wilkerson, who promoted tennis and youth sports in the area for many years before his death in 1975.

Wilkerson began playing tennis while attending Delta State Teachers College in the early 1950s, and he later taught the sport at Vicksburg Country Club. He helped build the Vicksburg Tennis Association and was appointed the organization’s president in 1960.

An employee with the Corps of Engineers, Wilkerson took an assignment in Thailand in 1967 and returned to Vicksburg in 1969. He became active with the VTA again upon his return and helped coach North Vicksburg High School in the early 1970s.

He passed away in 1975 from congestive heart failure, and in the spring of 1976, the Vicksburg Country Club youth tournament was renamed in his honor.