The Walton girls won their sixth consecutive Class AAAAA tennis championship and came within a single match of completing one of the most dominant seasons in GHSA history.
Other state tennis champions included the Marist girls and boys in Class AAAA, along with the Woodward Academy boys and St. Pius girls in AAA.
Walton defeated rival Centennial 3-1 in the final , giving the Raiders 116 straight wins . The Cobb County school finished this year 16-0 and didn’t lose a point in a team match until Friday when Centennial’s Megan Kurey defeated Emily Lauten at No. 2 singles.
“It was amazing to win because Centennial was strong and we knew it would be a tough match,” Walton coach Roberta Manheim said. “Emily has been sick [and missed most of the season], but she gave it everything she had today.”
“I’m so proud of the girls. They were under a tremendous amount of pressure to win and not break the streaks. They rose to the occasion and are winners in every respect.”
Walton will lose Lauten (signed with Virginia Tech) and Elizabeth Kilborn (Georgia Tech) to graduation, but it’ll pass responsibility for the dynasty to youngsters such as Emily Zabor, one of the nation’s top sophomores.
“I hope we can keep it going,” Manheim said. “We’ve got a lot of talent coming back, so I’m exciting about our chances. ”
The St. Pius girls might’ve been Friday’s biggest surprise. They stunned Woodward in the semifinals after losing to them in the regular season. In the championship, the Golden Lions edged region foe Riverwood 3-1, the same team that defeated St. Pius in last year’s final .
It was the first championship for St. Pius since 1981.
“The girls were very polite, and waited to shake hands before celebrating … they rushed the court, jumped up and down, and screamed with excitement,” St. Pius coach Jane Gennaro-Udell said.
The Marist girls were also back in the spotlight, after having their legendary streak of 12 consecutive championships snapped two years ago. Marist, with two sophomores and a freshman leading the way, defeated Glynn Academy 3-1 in the finals.
“The girls are talking about starting another streak because they are young and were able to pull it off this year,” Marist coach Frank Kissel said.
The Woodward boys, led by the senior trio of Bryan Haywood, Kevin Ye and Jay Strickland, won the state championship for the fourth year in row. The seniors finished with an overall record of 92-8.
Track and field
Eleven state records have been broken so far at this year’s championship track and field meet, including Miller Grove’s Kenneth Gilstrap in the Class AAAA 100 meters (10.370) and Henry County’s Jamal Patterson in the Class AA 300 hurdles (36.82 seconds). Click here for Saturday’s results
Marist’s Laura Eddy scored the game-winner with six minutes left in a 4-3 victory over Whitewater in the Class AAAA championship. Eddy, who has signed with Georgia, beat two defenders along the baseline and then booted the ball in a narrow gap between the goalie and the post.
Also, Parkview defeated Harrison 9-8 on penalty kicks after two overtimes in the AAAAA championship match. In AAA, St. Pius forward Christine Christy scored two goals in a 4-0 win over North Hall. Walker’s Nicole Locandro scored two second-half goals in a 2-0 win over Lovett for the AA/A title.