When Cullman’s tennis squads return to Point Mallard in just a few weeks time for the state tournament, coach Nathan Bates can only hope both teams perform as well as his Bearcat boys did this past weekend.
The Black and Gold concluded the Austin High School Invitational on Saturday with 56 total points, eclipsing second-place finisher Auburn High by 13 points. Hewitt-Trussville placed third to round out the top three.
“We pulled out a lot of tough matches,” Bates said. “I was really proud of their performance. We played pretty well in both singles and doubles.”
The Bearcats triumphed over a stacked field of mostly Class 6A squads with a few lower classes sprinkled about.
Ryan Hunt (7-5, 6-1) and Matthew Davis (6-3, 6-1) won at the No. 5 and No. 6 seeds in singles, respectively, while teammate Luke Bowden fell in the finals at No. 4.
“Matthew really played great in his match,” Bates said. “We were only up three points over Auburn at the time, but his win really let us pull away from the field.”
While No. 1 doubles tandem Baylor Adams and Jacob Davis fell in the semifinals to Hewitt-Trussville, No 2. Bowden/Clint Watson and No. 3 M. Davis/Hunt rocked the competition, picking up wins of (6-4, 6-0) and (6-7, 6-3 (10-6)).
“This was a really competitive tournament,” Bates said. “It’s the same place and same format that the state tourney will be. Similar conditions and similar level of play.”
The Bearcats will travel to Springville on Thursday for a sectional match.
Cullman’s boys won its first tournament of the season, and Good Hope’s Eli Marty wrapped up low-medalist honors to conclude a spectacular showing by Cullman County at the Fairview Invitational on Monday.
Sylas Elliott, Colby Sandlin and Colby Sandlin all carded 7-over 79s at Gunter’s Landing to pace the Bearcats. Lee Mattox, 82, and Garrett Crider, 84, rounded out the team’s total of 319, which gave the Black and Gold a 19-shot cushion over second-place Boaz.
Marty advanced to a playoff with a 5-over 77. The Raider No. 1 then clinched the win with a birdie on the second extra hole.
Aggie Trey Hanvey finished right in the thick of the action with an 80.
Braden Walker (83) was Holly Pond’s top golfer, followed by Colby Adams (84) and Hunter Walker (89).