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GHS tennis heads to state

Gilmer High School’s Levi Stolz (below) serves and Kali Malham (above) hits a forehand at their final home tennis match of the regular season. Last week, the Bobcats and Lady Cats finished third at the Region 7-4A tournament to qualify for the Class 4A state tournament. (Photos by Kevin Hensley)

by Robbie Bills

They entered and exited the region tennis tournament as the No. 3 seed, and also left with a berth into the state tournament.

The Gilmer Bobcats and Lady Cats both posted 5-2 region records during the regular season. Each notched a victory in the opening round at the region tournament last week in Dalton to qualify for the Class 4A  state tournament. The Lady Cats lost to Heritage in the semifinals and the Bobcats suffered the same fate against Cartersville.

They were both tasked with facing Pickens in the consolation finals. After heavy rains  postponed the region tournament by a day then returned to push it back two hours last Thursday, it made a third appearance in the late afternoon. Rather than wait it out, region coaches met and chose to grant the Bobcats and Lady Cats victories based on the fact they both defeated Pickens during the regular season.

It takes three victories to declare a team victory and at the region tournament, matches were stopped once that was achieved. The Lady Cats secured their state advancement by defeating Northwest Whitfield 3-0 and the Bobcats defeated LaFayette 3-1.

Lady Cat Anna Westmoreland was the only single to complete her match in the first round, which she won, 6-4, 6-2. The top doubles team of Rachel Penland and Hannah Colwell won both sets 6-0. The victory was sealed when No. 2 doubles Hannah Thomas and Kendal Avery were victorious, 6-4, 6-0.

Ally Davis and Kali Malham’s singles matches were called early with the team victory in hand.    

The Bobcats swept singles play versus LaFayette with Isaac Hensley (6-0, 6-1), Riley Hice (6-2, 6-0) and Dusty Ray (6-4, 6-3) coming out on top. The No. 1 doubles match ended simultaneously with a singles result, and saw Bobcats Levi Stolz and Jacob Stolz lose 6-1, 6-2. Jackson Stolz and Noah Chastain’s match was called early.

The Lady Cats were defeated by Heritage 3-2 in the semifinals. After losing the opening set 6-4, Westmoreland charged back to win the next two, 6-3, 6-1. Malham won as well, 6-4, 6-4. Davis was defeated (6-1, 6-3) for Northwest’s first win of the match.

Both doubles matches were highly-contested. Penland and Colwell lost 6-2, 7-6 (10-8) and Thomas and Avery were defeated 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).

Cartersville won the region title on the girls side and Heritage finished second. They swapped spots for the boys region title with Heritage defeating Cartersville. The Bobcats will travel to North Oconee Wednesday for a 4:30 p.m. match to begin the state tournament. The Lady Cats will make their way to North Hall for a 4:15 p.m. start.

Results from the Bobcats’ second round match at region versus Cartersville were not made available by Tuesday’s press deadline.
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