All the needed things were in place Saturday for a full day of action at the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College.
The fans were there, along with the coaches and the players, anxious to be competing in the 2019 GHSA Tennis State Championships.
The one thing that couldn’t be controlled was the weather. And it wasn't going to cooperate.
The rain rolled soon after play was stopped for lightning in the area, and a little less than two hours later, the decision was made by tournament director Steve Figueroa to cancel the rest of the day’s action.
While some of the girls’ finals were able to play to completion, four classifications' titles were still undecided at the time of the weather delay, and none of the boys’ matches got under way as they were scheduled to start after lunch.
“It’s just not going to quit raining long enough for the courts to dry out,” Figueroa said.
The girls' teams that were still playing will continue their matches exactly where they left off and the boys will get their matches started at the higher-seeded team’s home courts during the first part of this week.
If both teams are the same seed, the team on the bottom part of the bracket will host as determined by a coin toss by the GHSA.
The decision to cancel play was made while the Rockmart boys’ team waited in the clubhouse to see if they were going to play in the Class AA finals against Early County. The Jackets will now host the Southwest Georgia squad Monday at 1 p.m.
Rockmart head coach Barry Owen said his team was ready to go either way the weather went.
“I kind of prepared them that this was a possibility. That we could be here a while waiting or it may be canceled all together," Owen said. "It’s definitely a blessing, but we were good either way. We’re excited to be playing at home though, that’s definitely going to be an advantage for us.”
“I'm excited,” Rockmart singles player Timothy Malone said. “I kind of wish we could’ve done it today, but at least now we get to do it at home. It’s always fun to be able to play in front of the people that have supported you all year.”
Owen said his team may be able to take advantage of the delay with an extra day of practice.
“We’ve got to keep that focus and that direction for two more days,” Owen said. “Hopefully we can get a little practice in. That will help us stay focused and tuned up and be ready for Monday.”
In the Class 3A final, the Pace Academy girls were in the middle of their match against Region 5-3A rival Lovett when play was stopped with Lovett up just 1-0.
“It’s just a really tight match with two evenly-matched teams, I think,” Pace Academy athletic director Troy Baker said during the delay. “The competition has been good.”
It was the Pace Academy team's first visit to the tennis center, which began hosting the high school season finale last year, and while it was a short visit, the AD was impressed with the facility.
“I love the facility,” Baker said. “It’s just incredible out here. It’s well built. It’s well maintained. The viewing is great and the way they’ve set up the whole facility is just incredible.”
Four girls’ teams were crowned champions before the rain moved in, each of them coming away with 3-0 shutouts.
Telfair County topped Miller County in Class A Public, Bleckley County defeated Berrien in Class AA, Chamblee took down Kell in Class 5A, and Cambridge shut out Northview in Class 6A.