Smith, Rucker at final practice before their last game.
GAINESVILLE — Athens Academy put on a dominant display Thursday, sweeping the Region 8-A tennis championships at Lakeview Academy.
Both boys and girls teams repeated as region champs; the boys defeating Hebron Christian 3-0 and the girls knocking off Lakeview Academy by the same score.
The Lady Lions entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed from the north subregion, and defeated Hebron Christian and Athens Christian en route to the finals. However, they were unable to match the Lady Spartans’ power and precision.
Athens Academy’s Greer Ransom defeated Jackie Burleson 6-0, 6-0 in No. 2 singles; Emily Dong dropped Paige Atherton 6-0, 6-0 in No. 3 singles; and Kelly Foster and Melissa Corry teamed to defeat Arden Fraser and Vidya Mani-Medepalli 6-0, 6-1 in No. 2 doubles.
Nonetheless, Lakeview coach Steve Lewallen spoke highly of his team’s effort.
“This team has great chemistry and a wonderful attitude,” he said. “We just faced a first-class opponent (Thursday).”
On the boys’ side, the Lions bounced back from Wednesday’s disappointing semifinal loss to win 3-1 over Athens Christian in the third-place game.
“We played really well,” Lewallen said. “Our No. 1 singles player (Mike Fowler) came back from a 5-1 deficit in the first set to win 7-5. Then he kept the pressure on and won 6-1 in the second set. That set the tone for us.”
Jackson Beck followed with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 win in No. 3 singles, while No. 1 doubles team Matt Morris and Alex Klecan closed out the victory for Lakeview, winning 6-2, 6-4.
In other action, the Athens Christian girls took third place with a 3-2 win over Towns County.
The Lakeview girls enter the first round of the playoffs as the No. 2 seed and will play host to Region 5-A’s No. 3 seed, next week.
As 8-A’s No. 3 seed, the Lakeview boys will be on the road to face the No. 2 seed out of 5-A.
Lewallen said he expects to have the time and date for both matches determined later today.
“We just came off spring break, and we were a little bit rusty coming in (to the region tournament),” he said. “But we played three sets in two days, and that’s helped us get our confidence back. We’ll be playing against a tough region, but that’s ok. I like where we are right now.”