By Rubin E. Grant
Emma Karcher isn’t greedy. She just has a voracious appetite for winning.
Mountain Brook’s standout sophomore tennis player can’t think of anything better than the Spartans’ adding to their collection of AHSAA championships.
She said so after Mountain Brook won its second consecutive Class 7A girls tennis title with her on the team, its third straight state crown and its 29th title overall last week at the AHSAA 2019 State Tennis Championship, played in Decatur at the Jimmy Johns Tennis Center at Point Mallard.
“We had been pushing hard all season to win again,” Karcher said. “To finally accomplish our goal is exciting.
“My mindset is to win all four years I’m here. That would be just amazing.”
Karcher won her first individual title as Mountain Brook totaled 53 points to finish 13 points ahead of second-place Vestavia Hills.
Karcher defeated Vestavia Hills’ Maggie Nelson 7-5, 6-3 to claim the No. 1 singles championship. Karcher finished second in 2018.
“We’ve been back and forth against each other the whole season,” Karcher said, describing her match against Nelson. “We’re very even and we play the same way. It’s difficult to win when you play someone similar. We both like to hit the ball hard back and forth, so it comes down to who can play consistent the longest.
“My main goal going into the tournament was I needed to beat Maggie. It was surely an invigorating feeling to beat her after losing to her at sectional.”
Three other Spartans captured singles titles. Madison Jenkins won at No. 3, defeating Vestavia Hills’ Kristen Jebeles 6-1, 6-2; Liz Vandevelde won at No. 4, defeating McGill-Toolen’s Caroline Picard 6-2, 7-5; and Warner Johnson won at No. 5, defeating Vestavia Hills’ Brittney Xu 6-4, 6-2.
Karcher and Vandevelde teamed to win the No. 1 doubles title, defeating Vestavia Hills’ team of Nelson and Jebeles 6-3, 6-1. Mountain Brook’s Sully Ferreira and Kate Jeffcoat won No. 3 doubles, defeating Vestavia Hills’ Xu and Elizabeth Ledbetter.
Vestavia Hills had two singles championships. Cindy Jiang won at No. 2 and Ledbetter at No. 6.
Mountain Brook coach Susan Farlow was ecstatic about winning another title.
“Last year after we won with only one senior, I knew it was possible that we could win again,” Farlow said. “The girls worked hard. They worked hard during the summer, getting great lessons from pros.
“They stayed motivated. They showed up at the state and played hard.”
Karcher believes the Spartans are primed to keep the streak going in 2020.
“We have only one senior – the same as last year – so we’ll have pretty much the same lineup next year,” she said.