By Rubin E. Grant
The Mountain Brook girls’ winning state tennis championships has become one of the annual rites of spring, right alongside April showers, daylight saving time, proms and graduations.
The Spartans won their second consecutive Class 7A title and their 28th Alabama High School Athletic Association crown last week at the Mobile Tennis Center.
“It was so much fun,” Mountain Brook coach Susan Farlow said. “It never, never, never gets old, but it never gets easy. Even when you’ve got a team you think is a shoo-in, it’s still a lot of hard work.
“This year was not a shoo-in, however.”
That’s because two-time No. 1 singles champion Margaret Polk, a junior, elected not to play this spring so she could concentrate on regional and national tennis events. And talented fresh- man Kate Jeffcoat was sidelined the entire season with a knee injury.
“Five of our six singles players were brand new and we had three new doubles team,” Farlow said. “But we had a strong crop of 10th-graders come up and really contribute.”
Sophomores Charlotte Gillum and Liz Vandevelde captured individual single titles, as did senior Maggie Duggan. Gillum won No. 2, defeating Vestavia Hills’ Georgia Morros 7-5, 6-3. Vandevelde defeated Fairhope’s Chloe Warren 7-6 (5), 6-3 at No. 4, and Duggan beat Vestavia Hills’ Kristen Jebeles 6-1, 7-6 (6) at No. 6.
Mountain Brook freshman Emma Karcher was runner-up at No. 1 singles, falling to Huntsville senior Sydney Fletch in the final 6-1, 6-4. Sophomore Madison Jenkins fell to Fairhope’s Lynsey Richardson 6-2, 6-1 at No. 3.
Karcher and Vandevelde teamed to win No. 1 doubles, beating Fairhope’s Abby Warner and Caroline Adams, 6-4, 7-6 (5).
Mountain Brook had 50 team points and Vestavia Hills was second with 37.
“We thought we were definitely capable of winning again because we have so many good players even without Margaret,” said Vandevelde, the team captain. “We’re all real close and fight out on the court to win.
“We went to a tournament in Chattanooga, the Rotary, the first (weekend) of April and played some really good competition. That was the perfect tournament for us to play before state,” Vandevelde said.
Vestavia Hills’ Nicole Jebeles won twice. She captured No. 5 singles and teamed with sister Kristen Jebeles to win No. 2 doubles. The Rebels’ Georgia Morros and her sister Kate Morros won No. 3 doubles, defeating Mountain Brook’s Warner Johnson and Mae McGinnis, 6-3, 6-2.
Meanwhile, the Mountain Brook boys finished third behind McGill-Toolen and Vestavia Hills. The Spartans did have two individual winners, No. 3 Adam Cabraja and No. 6 Stuart Phelan. ❖