RHS girls tennis finishes runner-up at state, champs at No. 3 doubles
The Russellville varsity girls and boys tennis teams went to Mobile for the AHSAA Class 4A-5A state tournament looking to win matches. They did that and more, with the girls finishing second in the state for team competition and state champs in No. 3 doubles.
After winning the section 8 tournament at home, the RHS girls – led by head coach Charlotte Dollar and assistant LeAnn Strickland – traveled south to Mobile. Every player on the girls’ squad won matches to contribute to the team point total that led to the Lady Golden Tigers bringing home the red map trophy for second place in the state.
Randolph took first place with 59 points, while Russellville finished with 46.
RHS’ No. 3 doubles duo of seniors Madeline Cooper and Leah Rushing earned first place in the state.
In No. 1 singles, Peyton Parrish went undefeated in section play this season and had two losses the entire season. She avenged her prior loss from a tournament in the regular season and fell in round three of the state tournament to USTA 18U nationally-ranked Alana Boyce of Randolph, 6-1, 6-0.
Parrish was the only player at state to win a game versus Boyce. “Peyton is an amazing player with an incredible work-ethic,” Dollar said of the sophomore.
No. 2 singles player Sofia Tiffin defeated Grace Yu of St. James in round one before falling to McKenzie Williams of Sardis 6-4, 6-4.
In No. 3 singles, Natalie Busler picked up two wins but fell in the semifinals to Lydia Slocum of Randolph 6-4, 6-0.
No. 4 for Russellville, Avary Miller, got a round one win before falling in the next match to Jayden Johnson of Sardis 7-6, 6-1.
No. 5 Addie Strickland won a match over Emma Hasse of Etowah but fell in the next round.
In No. 6 singles, Kinsley Palmer won a round one match before dropping a battle with Ava Arteaga of John Carroll Catholic 6-1, 7-6.
In girls’ doubles, Cooper and Rushing defeated players from Sylacauga, Saint James and Altamont before taking on Choi and Baik from LAMP in the finals. The hard-fought championship match went to RHS 6-7, 6-2, 10-4.
“In addition to being excellent tennis players, they are both incredible people,” Dollar said of Cooper and Rushing. Dollar shared that Rushing plays three sports at RHS and is involved in many other school activities. Cooper is a cheerleader, singer and actress, along with participating in Distinguished Young Women, and is Miss RHS.
The No. 1 doubles team of Parrish and Tiffin finished second in the state, and No. 2 Busler and Miller made it to the semifinals.
On the boys’ side, head coach Ben Phillips’ young team gained valuable experience at the state level after finishing second at sectionals to qualify for the trip to Mobile.
No. 1 singles player Kiah Derrick won a first round match, as did No. 5 David Tomas. No. 4 Ayden Boyd advanced to the semis with wins over players from St. Michael Catholic and Sylacauga. No. 2 for RHS was Bryan Ruiz, No. 3 was Josue Tomas and No. 6 was Carlos Richardson.
Derrick teamed up with Bralynn Vincent in No. 1 doubles. The No. 2 team from RHS was Ruiz and Boyd, while the No. 3 duo of Josue and David Tomas got a round one win over two players from American Christian Academy.
Russellville’s boys finished No. 11 in team play with a total of 11 points. Madison Academy was first out of the 18 schools that participated on the boys’ courts with 64 points, while LAMP was second with 62.