By Rubin E. Grant
The Mountain Brook girls tennis team might have lost three of their top six singles players from their 2021 Class 6A state championship squad, but the Spartans still had sophomore Pippa Roy.
With Roy leading the way, Mountain Brook captured its second consecutive Class 6A title in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Tennis Championships April 21-22 at the Mobile Tennis Center. They extended their AHSAA state title record to 31.
Roy won her second straight Class 6A No. 1 singles and doubles championships. She defeated Montgomery Academy senior Gabby Barrera 6-0, 6-4 in the final. Roy teamed with Annie Lacey, who captured the No. 3 singles championship, to win the No. 1 doubles crown. The duo beat sisters Libbie Hamilton and Emma Jane Hamilton of St. Paul’s Episcopal 3-6, 6-1, 10-7 in the doubles championship match.
“Pippa is so great,” Mountain Brook coach Susan Farlow said. “You don’t ever expect her to lose. Her mother was a great player and Pippa has picked up her game. She plays hard and takes it very seriously.”
Roy was pleased with her performance but was more thrilled about how the Spartans played as a team. Mountain Brook won four singles and two doubles championships.
“I think I played well,” Roy said. “All my shots were working and I tried as hard as I could.
“As a team, we performed well. Everybody played their best and gave it 100 percent.”
The Spartans finished with 71 points, finishing comfortably ahead of second-place St. Paul’s Episcopal with 62 points and third-place Montgomery Academy with 45.
Annie Lacey won her No. 3 singles match with a 6-3, 6-0 victory against St. Paul’s Emme Clement. Mountain Brook’s other two singles champions were Mae Lacey at No. 5 and Ann Royal Goodson at No. 6. Mae Lacey defeated Decatur’s Vivi Blakely 6-3, 6-0 and Goodson defeated Montgomery Academy’s Mary Lee Kelso 6-4, 6-2.
Mae Lacey teamed with Ann Coleman to win No. 2 doubles, defeating St. Paul’s Clement and Maggie Sullivan 6-3, 6-2.
Mountain Brook’s Lillian Still and Mary Neal Polk finished as runners-up in No. 3 doubles, falling to St. Paul’s Grace Swaim and Livy Ferguson 6-2, 7-6.
“I am glad our girls were able to pull it out,” Farlow said. “They worked hard to win matches.”
Mountain Brook has won girls state championships the past five times the AHSAA tournament has been held. The Spartans won three consecutive Class 7A titles from 2017-2019. The 2020 state tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spartan Boys Fall Short
The Mountain Brook boys finished as Class 6A runners-up for the second consecutive year. The Spartans were tied 62-62 with Northridge at the end of the second day of competition. But they had to wait another day before the final outcome because Northridge senior Braden Hannig was forced to delay his No. 1 singles championship match because of the AHSAA four-match limit in a single day.
Hannig, the top-ranked senior in Alabama according to the USTA, defeated Montgomery Academy junior Whit Davis 6-3, 6-1 the next morning to win No. 1 singles. Hannig earned two points to give Northridge the team title, averting a mini-series playoff against Mountain Brook had he lost.
Hannig had teamed with Ethan Wilson to win the No. 1 doubles final against Trinity Presbyterian’s James Treadwell and Samuel Treadwell 6-2, 6-2 to give the Cougars the needed points to tie the Spartans at the end of the second day.
“We knew Hannig was a superstar player and he was going to win, so it was an anti-climactic end,” Farlow said. “But I am so proud of the way the boys played. We won five of the nine championship matches and Northridge won only two, but that’s how it goes.”
Mountain Brook won four singles championships and one doubles title. The Spartans’ Luke Schwefler won No. 2 singles, defeating Homewood’s Ben Kovakas 6-0, 6-1; Thomas Austin won No. 3 singles, defeating Northridge’s Jose Alcocer 6-3, 7-5; Max Gayden won No. 5 singles, defeating Northridge’s James Emery 6-3, 6-1; and Trey Stiles won No. 6 singles, defeating Montgomery Academy’s Gaines Freeman 6-2, 6-2.
Mountain Brook’s Logan Woodall lost in the No. 4 singles final, falling 7-6, 1-6, 11-9 to Spanish Fort’s Jake Miller.
The Spartans’ team of Gayden and Luke Schwefler won No. 2 doubles, defeating Spanish Fort’s Miller and Jacob Thom 6-3, 6-2.