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TENNIS: Rockmart, Cedartown split their matches

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The Rockmart and Cedartown high school tennis matches last Thursday had everything you would expect a rivalry to have – intensity, determination, joy, sadness, and this year, even lightning.

Playing at Rockmart High School, the Lady Jackets and Lady Bulldogs final match was stopped due to lightning. Rockmart eventually conceded the match, giving the Lady Bulldogs a 3-2 victory. The Yellow Jackets had already defeated the Bulldogs 5-0.

“Our girls looked great despite the loss,” Yellow Jackets head coach Wayne Brooks said. “And the boys have shown their dominance by scoring 6-0 sets at least five times this season in their first two matches. They really are impressive, and I hope they carry this success into region play.”

An experienced Yellow Jackets team took advantage of a young, inexperienced Bulldogs team during their matches.

At No. 1 singles, Matt Giudice took down Cedartown freshman Tanner Merhkens 6-4, 6-2.

“Matt played long points with razor sharp ground strokes,” Brooks said.

At No. 2 singles, Rockmart’s Mason Barnette defeated Bulldog Shane Smith 6-2, 6-0.

“He stayed perfect on the season, winning with punishing ground strokes despite windy conditions,” Brooks said.

Rockmart earned a forfeit win at No. 3 singles.

In doubles action, Steven Dean and Tyler Baulding-Woods earned Rockmart an easy win at No. 1 doubles, winning 6-3, 6-2.

At No. 2 doubles, Jared Brumbelow and Dustin Adams won for the Yellow Jackets in what Brooks called an almost flawless match, 6-0, 6-1.

The Lady Jackets, meanwhile, had a tougher team against a talented Lady Bulldogs team.

Morgan Thompson did earn a win at No. 1 singles, beating Cedartown’s Valerie DeWandel 6-3, 6-4.

“They hit the ball so hard,” Brooks said. “And it was a long grueling match.”

At No. 2 singles, Cedartown’s Kasey Gibson defeated Kristen Stone 6-1, 6-2.

However, Rockmart got back in the win column at No. 3 singles, as Savannah Hudson defeated freshman Holly Robinson of Cedartown, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

“Their match was likely the longest of the day,” Brooks noted.

Rockmart’s Rae Darden and Katelyn Burns lost at No. 1 doubles, 6-2, 6-4.

“It was very entertaining and close,” Brooks said. “They really fought hard in that second set, and it was so close that it could have gone either way.”

At No. 2 doubles, Rockmart’s Megan Crawford and Jennifer Badon were losing 6-0, 2-0, when lightning moved into the area and Brooks eventually conceded the match.

“The girls should be wellprepared for the region matches with these strong showings against Pepperell and Cedartown, two perennial powerhouses in their respective regions,” Brooks said. “I think there is potential for much success for both the boys and girls teams this year.”

Rockmart was suppose to open Region 4-AAA play against Jackson-Atlanta on Tuesday, but that match has been cancelled since Jackson-Atlanta has been forced to forfeit their entire season.

Rockmart will be back on the courts Thursday, Feb. 28 at Washington Park in Atlanta against the B.E.S.T Academy and Coretta Scott King.

Cedartown is slated to play Jacksonville Friday at 4:30 p.m., if it doesn’t get rained out.

Cedartown is also scheduled to play again on Monday at home against Pepperell.