JACKSON – The Tupelo High tennis trio of Hogan Harrington, Eric Huey and Sebastian Rios enjoyed championship success Wednesday in the MHSAA Class 6A state tennis tournament at the Bridges Tennis Center.
Harrington, a senior and Huey, a sophomore, defeated Williams Evans and Slay Wagoner of Ocean Springs 6-3, 6-1 to win their third consecutive state doubles championship.
It was only their second time playing together as a team this season and it showed when they struggled early.
“Once we got going, it was pretty smooth,” said Huey. “We adjusted well today,” added Harrington, who will attend Ole Miss in the fall, but probably won’t play varsity tennis. “Recreationally, more than likely,” he said.
This was the fourth consecutive season the duo played in the finals. They lost in 2014.
Rios defeated Flint Christian of Northwest Rankin 6-0, 6-0 in the finals. In four matches, he dropped only three games.
Christian suffered a knee injury late in the first set, but was able to complete the match.
“I thought it was going to be a lot harder,” Rios said. “What happened with his knee was unfortunate. I was expecting a better match.”
This is the second year in a row that a Tupelo player won boys singles following a victory last year by Andrew Hildenbrand. Although he is only a junior, Rios will not be back to defend his title last year. He plans to graduate early and enter Ole Miss for the second semester.
“I want to play on the tennis team and finish in the top three my first year. After college, I plan to go pro.”
Also for Tupelo in the individual competition:
• Mary Carter won one match in girls singles.
• Will Brawner and Zak Keith won one boys double match.
• Dakin Reed and Gracie Roberts won twice in girls doubles before losing in the semifinals.
• Williams Emmons and Aryelle-Grace Waters reached the mixed doubles semifinals before losing.
In team competition, Tupelo lost to Madison Central in the North state final.
Grayson Godbold of New Albany won boys singles, Ally Bowen of Lafayette won girls singles and New Albany duos won girls – Greta Blakemore and Morris Kelly Clayton – and mixed – Jackson Christ and Rachel Rainey.
Godbold, a junior, defeated Cody Courtney of Florence 6-3, 6-2 for fourth consecutive straight set victory. “I hit the ball really well today,” he said and added, “I want to win another team title and another state in singles.”
New Albany had its five-year title run end with a 4-3 loss to Newton County in the team final Monday.
Bowen received a strong challenge from Kennedy Rodriguez of Newton County in the final, but won 6-3, 7-5.
Blakemore and Clayton defeated the top-seeded duo from Newton County 6-4, 6-2. It was Clayton’s third championship in three different competitions.
Christ and Rainey came from behind to defeat the top seeds.