By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
Louis Nash is confident his Oxford High School tennis team can win a fifth straight MHSAA Class 5A state championship this week.
The Chargers, who are 18-1 overall, play Stone County or Pascagoula on Wednesday in Clinton for the team championship.
Oxford, which has 12 players qualified for the individual portion of the state tournament, scheduled for today and Tuesday in Ridgeland.
“I always think we’re going to win,” said Nash, whose team’s lone loss this season was 4-3 to St. Andrews. “Nobody else will believe it.
“If we get the right matchup, and play like we’re supposed to play, we’ll be OK.”
Oxford, which saw its winning streak snapped last season at 126 straight victories, reached this year’s finals with a 6-1 semifinals win against Ridgeland.
Nash, who has directed three schools to state championships in tennis, including one at Laurel and six at Greenville St. Joseph, says a lot of factors have contributed to Oxford’s success on the court.
“We got a lot of good teaching here, starting with 4 and 5 year olds,” he said. “Most of the lessons are through the Oxford Park Commission. It’s relatively cheap or free, and it’s all on public courts. That’s rare these days.”
The younger players also want to become a part of a successful Oxford program.
“They know if they’re good they can play early,” Nash said. “The best players will play, regardless of age.”
The Chargers’ hopes in singles are Quinn Elliott and Ann Marie Edlin. In girls doubles, Sarah Nash and McClellan Davis, Oxford, along with Kara Rose and Embry Inman, have qualified. In mixed doubles, Judson Watson and Cari Hansen are in the bracket.
Nash believes his two boys doubles teams could meet for the state championship – Robert Nance and Andrew Mullin, and Will Swindoll and Baxter Elliott.
“We don’t have a true No. 1 between these two,” Nash said. “If they play in the finals it will be a lot of fun.”
STATE TENNIS TOURNAMENT
1A-2A at Mississippi College
4A-5A at Ridgeland
3A-6A at Bridges
1A-6A at Millsaps
2A-5A at Clinton
3A-4A at Mississippi College