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franklin county times

Grand slam

By Staff
RHS boys claim 3rd straight sectional title
Kim West
DECATUR – The Russellville boys tennis team completed a Class 5A, Section 4 three-peat as the Golden Tigers won the finals 8-1 Monday evening at the Jimmy Johns Tennis Center.
Russellville swept all six singles matches as senior T.J. Drake prevailed 6-7, 6-2, 4-0 at No. 1, while sophomore Kiefer Rea won 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2 and junior Carson Hutchins won 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3.
Seniors Anthony Turner (No. 4, 6-2, 6-3) and John Tyler Hardin (No. 6, 6-1, 6-1) and junior Tyler Malone (No. 5, 6-2, 6-1) all won in straight sets.
The Golden Tigers also won two of three doubles matches as No. 2 Drake-Hardin and No. 3 Rea-Malone each won their matches 6-2, 6-1.
The Russellville boys faced sectional rival Muscle Shoals in every finals match with the exception of Rea, who played Athens, and won 60 out of a possible 63 points to earn a berth to the single-elimination state tournament. The Trojans finished with 40 points to also qualify for the tournament, which will be held April 28-30 at Lagoon Park in Montgomery.
The Russellville boys have compiled a 56-11 record in five years with three straight sectional championships since 2006 and a fourth-place finish at state last season. In 2007 Drake won the school's first tennis championship at No. 1 singles by defeating two-time state champion Colin Perry of UMS-Wright.
The Golden Tigers (12-1, 4-0) will attempt to become the first sport at Russellville to win a state championship since the 1982 boys basketball team.
"Our kids are in great shape, and we have a lot of experienced players," said Russellville coach Jimmy Rea, who returned to coach the tennis program in 2003 after re-starting it in 1988. "I would love for us bring home that Blue Map trophy because it's just as hard to win the state title in tennis as it is in any other sport."
Rea said the team set three specific goals during pre-season.
"Our goals this season were to go undefeated, win sectionals and go to state," Rea said. "Our only loss this season came against 6A Grissom, and we've won 33 matches with only one loss in the past two-and-a-half seasons.
"I think the state title is up for grabs between Walker, UMS-Wright and us, and I'm just hoping those two teams draw the same bracket because it will allow us to pile up some points while they're busy knocking each other out of the tournament."
The Russellville girls also competed in the all-day sectional tournament Monday, and three players advanced to the semifinals or higher.
Sophomore Millie Fisher lost against Muscle Shoals in the finals at No. 4 singles (7-6, 7-6), while junior Abbie Hardin (7-6, 6-4) dropped a finals match at No. 5 singles to Decatur. No. 3 Kayla King fell in a three-set set semifinals match to the Lady Trojans.
Seniors Calli Davis (No. 1) and Kimberly Fennel (No. 2) competed at the top two singles spots, while Olivia Turner played at No. 3.
Russellville will play its home finale today against 6A Northridge at 1 p.m.