By Dallas Bordon
JONESBORO: The Madison County Red Raider tennis team made history this season by advancing to the state championship for the first time.
They came up just short of the top prize Saturday as 5A-AAAA Columbus won the championship with a 3-1 win over Madison County.
The expected rain that was due to the area held off just long enough to get the matches in at the Clayton International Tennis Park in Jonesboro.
A rain-out would have given number one seed Madison County home court advantage on Monday or Tuesday, but as it turned out, plenty of the Raider faithful made the trip to Jonesboro.
Trey Morris remained undefeated on the season, winning at the number one singles (2-0). Ben Strickland battled to a tie-breaker but came up on the short end of a 2-1 loss. With the number one doubles team of Zach Peneguy and Adam Sartain falling to Columbus 2-0 and the number two doubles Hank Sartain and Koti Nguyen also losing 2-0, all eyes were glued to Strickland's match.
With Columbus leading overall 2-1 with Strickland and Tyler Terrell (number 3 singles) still playing, Columbus needed just one win to seal the championship.
Columbus got the win after Strickland fell 6-4 in the tiebreaker. Terrell's singles match was halted at that point as Columbus got the needed 3 wins.
The Raiders (22-4, 12-0) were able to reach the championship round by defeating Carrollton and S. Effingham in earlier post season play