Warren County a good place for youth tennis

Published 9:28 am Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The beauty of tennis is in the respect the game demands for its players.

Spectators know when to cease celebratory applause, opponents exchange salutations after a match, and in the high school circuit, call their own faults given the absence of a chair umpire.

Much like baseball, tennis is a big part of Vicksburg and the addition of four tennis courts at Halls Ferry Park supports the notion.

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Halls Ferry is a welcoming park with the nine courts in place already to play tennis so the addition of more courts invites more residents to come out and enjoy a game that is good for all ages.

Even at the middle and high school level, tennis in Warren County is flourishing.

St. Aloysius, Warren Central and Vicksburg have or will compete in team and individual state competitions in the past three weeks. Within that accomplishment of simply qualifying for north state tournaments for Warren Central, is the direction Jeff Pilgrim has taken the program.

Pilgrim has made Warren Central a competitive team on the court.

The Vikings will take eight players to the MHSAA Class 6A individual tennis competition in Jackson at Parham Bridges Tennis Center this week in boys and girls singles and in three doubles categories. Individually, the Vikings rank No. 8, out of 16, or higher in their brackets.

During the Vikings’ second round loss in the Class 6A playoffs to Madison Central, the Jaguars’ coach Brad Boteler commended Warren Central on being a tough matchup.

Vicksburg also began their individual tournament Monday and will compete in the boys’ and girls’ singles matches represented by Jared Bell and Faye Valerio.

The Gators are sending the pairs of Christopher Albert and Jonathan Boyd, and Rashad Fisher and Chance Williams matchup against Germantown and Oxford respectively. In mixed doubles, Jon Bantugan and Sierra Shelton are faced with the challenge of playing a No. 2 seed in Stone County.

Finally, the Flashes have one more team in the MAIS state tournament of Ashley Jarratt and Taylor Chewning, who, by the way, are undefeated. After Heritage Academy forced the duo to play a third-set tiebreaker in the previous round, Jarratt and Chewning face Laurel Christian Academy and the pressure to win is ubiquitous as they strive to keep the season alive.