(Town Crier photo/Trent Fletcher)
Riverside qualified seven players for the Class 2A State Tennis Tournament at last week's 2A-3 District Tournament held at Allen Park in Jonesboro. The Rebels finished runner-up in team play in both the boys and girls divisions.
Riverside's Jordan Adcock and Glen Graham were upset in the finals of their doubles match by the Crowley's Ridge Academy team of Jeremy Cohen and Jonathan Huggins 6-2, 6-7 (5), 2-6. Adcock and Graham were within one point of winning the championship but saw the CRA duo stave off match point and force a second set tiebreaker, which the Falcon pair won. Huggins and Cohen seized the momentum with their second set win and cruised to a third set victory. It was the first loss of the year for Adcock and Graham, who dropped to 12-1 on the season.
Garrett Weaver and Casey Hook of Riverside join Adcock and Graham as state qualifiers by virtue of their third place finish in district play. Weaver and Hook locked up their state tournament bid by defeating the CRA team of Jake Wallis and Kade Dickerson, 6-0, 6-3. Riverside also qualified Cody Richardson in singles play when he knocked off teammate Cliff Kramer 6-4, 5-7, 6-3, to finish third.
In girls play, the Riverside tandem of Katey Campbell and Morgan Emery advanced to the State Tournament, finishing runner-up to the Ridgefield Christian team of Lindsey Morgan and Elizabeth Young. Campbell and Emery reached the finals with a 6-0, 6-0 whitewash of Karystal Passmore and Hope Childeers of Ridgefield Christian before dropping a tough 7-5, 0-6, 6-7 (1) match to Morgan and Young.
"I am thrilled that we got so many of our players qualified for state," said Riverside Coach Terry Conner. "That was our goal. They all came through for us and really did well. I feel like we will have a very strong team going to state. A lot will depend on how the seedings fall, but I think we will have a good shot at the championship."
"Jordan (Adcock) and Glen (Graham) should get a pretty high seed, and I think they are the team to beat in doubles," Conner added. Jordan has state tournament experience having played on last year's state championship team and Glen has really improved this year. Casey Hook and Garrett Weaver are just as strong and are really going to surprise some people. Both teams should go very deep into the tournament. Morgan (Emery) and Katey (Campbell) are really coming together as a team. I think they can surprise some teams and go further in the tournament than maybe some people think. Girls doubles are very unpredictable in state tournament play. Cody (Richardson) has the hardest route because he will have to play in the qualifying round and will probably face a pretty high seed if he advances. But he is one of the most improved players we have. He had a very good year. He knows how to play and you can always expect the unexpected from him. I am very proud of all the players."
In boys singles play, Cliff Kramer won his first round match over Wesley Davis of Walnut Ridge, 6-1, 6-0 while Richardson defeated Jeremy Smith, 6-0, 6-1. Kramer dropped his semi-final match to eventual champion Aaron Hudson of CRA, 6-0, 6-1, while Richardson dropped a tough 6-4, 4-6, 0-6 semi-final match to Jack Kent of Walnut Ridge.
In boys doubles, Adcock and Graham won their first round match over Jared Williams and Adam Thrasher of Ridgefield, 6-2, 6-0, while Weaver and Hook dropped the Ridgefield team of Blake Emerson and Nick Pechilis, 6-0, 6-1. Adcock and Graham advanced to the finals with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Wallis and Dickerson of CRA. Weaver and Hook dropped a three set semi-final heartbreaker to Huggins and Cohen of CRA, 2-6, 7-6, 4-6.
In girls singles, Lady Rebel Kailey Holt beat Ridgefield Christian's Rachel Ricca 7-5, 6-3, in first round action. Holt lost her semi-final match to Melissa Sellars, 7-5, 6-1. Holt just missed out on the state tournament bid when she dropped a 7-6 (2), 6-1 decision to CRA's Brittney Johns. Riverside's Holly Dudley was eliminated in the first round by Johns, 6-1, 6-3.
Riverside's Sarah Haas and Christy Ward were ousted in the first round of doubles play by CRA's Lauren Hill and Hanna Stidman, 6-2, 6-4.
The Riverside boys finished the regular season with a 12-1 record by defeating Trumann 2-0 Monday afternoon before coming back to knock off Ridgefield Christian, 4-1, on Tuesday.
The Lady Rebels dropped a 4-2 decision to Ridgefield Christian Tuesday afternoon in Jonesboro. Riverside picked up wins in girls doubles as Christy Ward and Sarah Haas downed Karysta Passmore and Hope Childers, 7-5, while the team of Kailey Holt and Holly Dudley shut out Hannah Hogue and Anna Hoggard, 6-0.
Riverside will open State Tournament play Monday, Oct. 16, at Fairfield Bay. The state semi-finals and finals will be played on Tuesday, Oct. 17.