While the team championship escaped their grasp, New Albany didn’t come home empty handed as five members of the Bulldogs tennis team captured individual state titles in the Class 4A individual tournament. 

Grayson Godbold was crowned the boys singles champion as he defeated Cody Courtney of Florence 6-3, 6-2. 

Godbold, a junior, earned his first individual medal with the win though he had competed in the Boys Doubles competition in 2016 and the singles competition in 2015 as a freshman. 

In Girls Doubles, Morris Kelly Clayton and Greta Blakemore earned the 4A title as they defeated Newton County’s Josie Hurst and Alison Walker 6-4, 6-2. 

It’s the first individual title for Blakemore, who is in her eighth grade year and playing her first season as a varsity starter. 

Clayton earns her third individual medal, making the junior the second female player in the history of the Mississippi High School Activities Association’s state tournament to win all medals that a player is eligible for. 

Clayton won a girls singles title in 2015 as a freshman and took home a Mixed Doubles title in 2016 with partner Seth Male. 

New Albany closed out the day with a win for Mixed Doubles partners Rachel Rainey and Jackson Christ who took the individual title by defeating Newton County’s Kayla Baucum and Matthew Brand in a third set tiebreaker. 

Rainey and Christ dropped the opening set 4-6, but came back to win the final two sets 6-1, 6-1 to mark the first individual title for both players. 

Rainey, a junior, is in her second year as a varsity member, having played last season on the girls singles court. It’s the first season for sophomore Christ as part of the varsity team. 

Scott, Boys Doubles pairs fall in semi-finals 

New Albany’s remaining four courts, all advanced into the semi-final rounds during the second day of the tournament. 

Girls doubles pair Maggie Creekmore and Lexie Kent fell short of playing teammates Clayton and Blakemore in the finals as they were defeated by Hurst and Walker 6-0, 6-4. 

In boys doubles, Luke Bolen and Joseph Fennell fell in the semi-final round to eventual Class 4A champions Joel Hill and Ethan McMullan in three sets. Bolen and Fennell won the first set 6-4 but dropped the two remaining at 6-3, 6-4. 

Mason Richey and John M. Davis met the Class 4A runner up in the second round of competition, falling to Newton County’s Dylan Barnett and Zack McMullan by a 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 score. 

In girls singles, eighth grader Maggie Scott handed the upset of the tournament on Tuesday as Scott defeated Tishomingo County’s Madelyn Griffin, the four-seed in the tournament. 

The match, which Scott won 6-3; 2-6; 7-6, lasted two and a half hours and propelled Scott to the semi-finals to face Lafayette’s Ally Bowen who was crowned the 4A singles champion with her win over Newton County’s Kennedy Rodriguez. 

Bowen defeated Scott 6-0, 6-1 in the semi-final round to advance into the finals on Wednesday morning. 


@DonicaPhifer on Twitter

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