CHATA wins state championship
Published 9:49 pm Monday, August 6, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It was a team effort.
The Chattahoochee Valley Tennis Association (CHATA) 18-and-over women’s team won the USTA tri-level state tournament with a victory over Sequoyah on a blistering Sunday afternoon at the McCluskey Tennis Center.
CHATA finished with a 5-0 record in the tournament that began on Friday, and every one of the 17 members of the team contributed to the championship.
CHATA won two matches on Friday, two on Saturday, and one on Sunday.
It was a different lineup each time out for CHATA, and whoever was on the court found a way to get it done.
In the championship match, Sequoyah and CHATA each had three doubles teams with different USTA ratings.
There was a 2.5 team, a 3.0 team, and a 3.5 team.
After Dana Davis and Tracey Stribling won the 3.5 match, CHATA needed one more victory to secure the win and claim the state title.
Sisters Katie Willis and Suzie Cook made it happen with a victory in the 2.5 match, giving CHATA the two wins it needed to end the suspense.
The 3.0 team of Kim Myers and Jill Kemp was in the midst of a hard-fought match when the outcome was decided.
“It came down to one point at a time,” Cook said. “That’s what we say. Just play one point at a time, and have fun. Because when we start getting stressed out, it kind of goes downhill.”
Willis said they went out and tried to enjoy themselves, despite the high stakes.
“That’s what Suzie kept saying, have fun, and just relax,” Willis said. “And we did.”
Emphasizing the team aspect of the format, Willis recognized the other 2.5 players who delivered some big wins.
“Cathy (Arrington) and Lisa (Skinner), our line, they played twice on Friday, and they won both of their matches,” Willis said. “Without them, we wouldn’t have won.”
With the win, CHATA advances to the regional tournament in Jackson, Miss. in October.
Overall, there were more than 600 players who participated in the state tournament, and matches were contested at McCluskey Tennis Center.
The tournament was created in 2012, and it has been held in LaGrange every year.
“It went real well,” said Bill Champion, the head pro at McCluskey Tennis Center. “Everybody likes LaGrange, and what’s gone on downtown. A lot of people stayed at the new hotel.”
TEAM MEMBERS: Mike Bush, Karen Bryant, Dana Davis, Tracey Stribling, Katie Willis, Jill Kemp, Melinda Pomeroy-Black, Kim Myers, Suzie Cook, Jessica Livingston, Donna Jarzen, Lisa Skinner, Cathy Arrington, Jamie Livingston, Anne Marie Huberdeau, Lori McClung and Patricia Rogers.