Olympus boys tennis wins region, eyes state title
May 17, 2018 02:32PM
By Josh McFadden
The Olympus boys tennis team beat out defending 4A state champion Skyline for the Region 6 title. The Titans qualified all of its varsity players for the state tournament. (Photo by Tamara Warner)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
Facing some stiff competition, the Olympus boys tennis team won the Region 6 championship and sent a full contingent of players to state to compete for the top crown.
The Titans didn’t just finish first in their region, but they also beat out last season’s Class 4A champions, Skyline, in the process. Olympus had tremendous success at the region tournament, qualifying all of its players for state, which was held May 18 and 19 at Liberty Park.
First singles player Drew Hartsfield entered state as the No. 3 seed in the region. Parker Warner, the team’s second singles competitor, finished second in region, earning the No. 2 seed at state. Third singles player Cole Marshall was the top finisher at region. Meanwhile, both doubles squads were No. 1 seeds at state. The first singles tandem of Robbie Ballam and Ellis Ivory and the second singles pair of Ethan Stanger and Sawyer Peterson each placed first at region.
Head coach Mike Epperson is thrilled with how his team competed on the court and with the focus and determination his players brought to matches and to practice.
“I’ve enjoyed the relationships with these terrific boys and their parents,” he said. “These boys have bought into my system to turn this program around the last three years so that my seniors could have a taste of what it means to be region champions for the first time. This team truly gave me 100 percent all year, each achieving the personal goals they set for themselves thus far.”
Epperson said his biggest objective entering the season was to take home top honors at region. As far as the state tournament goes, he knew the Titans would encounter even bigger challenges.
“Class 5A tennis this year is the best compilation of teams I have seen coaching and being a part of high school tennis,” he said. “Whomever wins the state title will have absolutely earned it this year with the quality of tennis that is out there. Our No. 1 goal this year was to win the Region 6 title and qualify every varsity player to state. The second goal was to be No. 1 seeds going into the state tournament. We accomplished both of those goals. The third goal was to get every team to the second day to be in position to win a state title. Like I’ve said, 5A is so tough this year, that to be a top-five team at state will be an accomplishment, and that’s what I’m hoping for this team.”
Heading into state, Epperson was optimistic about Marshall’s chances at a title. He also thought Ballam and Ivory (who’s only a freshman) could end up in the top spot of all first doubles competitors.
“I think all our guys have a good chance to be playing in the semifinals if the draws are favorable and they play their best tennis of the year as they showed in the region tournament,” Epperson said.