State tennis trudges on despite rain

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

JACKSON – An anxious Wesley Tye arrived at Bridges Tennis Center around 10 a.m. Monday for his scheduled 1 p.m. mixed doubles match.
“I was ready to play when I got here,” Tye said.
Instead, the Booneville junior, playing in the MHSAA Class 3A state tennis tournament for the first time, and his partner, freshman Meridith Mincy, experienced a long wait – thanks to a three-hour rain delay.
“I was nervous when I got here, but now I just want to play,” said Mincy, who was still waiting at 6 p.m. to play her first-round match with Tye.
Mincy and Tye weren’t the only players frustrated by the lull. Bad weather halted play at all three tournament sites – Bridges (3A-6A), Ridgeland (4A-5A) and Mississippi College (1A-2A) – forcing MHSAA to schedule rare night matches to finish the quarterfinals.
“Our goal is to complete play and have the semifinals and finals (today),” MHSAA associate director Rickey Neaves said. “All three facilities have lights, so we should be able to play through the quarterfinals.”
The weather forecast for today calls for a 60 percent chance of rain after noon. The finals in classes 3A, 4A, 5A and 6A are scheduled for 1 p.m. The 1A and 2A championship matches are scheduled for 9 a.m.
“We’re going to start our morning (semifinals) on time and see if we can get lucky for the finals,” Neaves said. “We can use the facilities at MC and Ridgeland (tonight). We will attempt to move the finals to a playable facility and finish.”
In 6A early action, Tupelo’s Drew Ballard and Casey Marshall were winners, along with two Golden Wave boys doubles teams – Will Otis and Andrew Hildenbrand, and Austin Pillow and Aaron Hildenbrand.
In girls doubles, the Wave’s Ashley Williams and Sara Hollingsworth also advanced, winning in straight sets.
After the rain delay, Tupelo’s Kat Stratton and Kyle Holliman downed St. Martin’s Anna Blair and Carson Neaves 6-2, 6-1, in mixed doubles.
As for Tye and Mincy, they lost their opener to Nettleton’s Hayden Lee and Tara Lanham 6-0, 6-1.

Click video to hear audio