IT’S BEEN a historic tennis season already for Jackson County, and both the boys’ and girls’ teams aim to make it even more historic next week.
With both teams enjoying their best showing ever in region play, the Panthers and Lady Panthers will try to qualify for the state tournament for the first time in school history when they take part in the Region 8-AAA tournament at Oconee County next Wednesday (April 16) and Thursday (April 17).
“I’m thrilled,” coach Natalie Peterson said. “This is our best region standing in school history.”
Both teams are 4-3 in region play and enter the region tournament as no. 4 seeds.
The Panthers play Elbert County at 9:30 a.m. on April 16, while the Lady Panthers play Elbert County at 11 a.m. on the same day. Both teams will match up with North Oconee in the next round if they win.
Of course, one win for either team at region would be historic as it would assure a spot in the state tournament.
Peterson pointed to the play of the boys’ singles players — Blake Bingham, Dylan McDonald and Nate Konarski — this season. Bingham and McDonald both moved up from doubles to play no. 1 and no. 2 singles.
“(It was) a move they weren’t really happy with, but they’ve fought hard for the wins they’ve brought us at singles,” she said.
Peterson added that Konarski enjoyed an “amazing season at no. 3 singles.”
“The amped up competition level in our singles play has helped to fuel the entire team,” Peterson said. “The confidence of our doubles players has hit an all time high. With the competitive drive and the confidence both in gear I feel we are ready for the tournament. All we have to do is ‘be a tree’ and keep it in play.”
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