The Meridian Star
West Lauderdale Tennis players Chris Mallette and Jordan Hull have grown pretty close the the last two years.
After all, as the No. 1 seed in the 4A Mixed Doubles State Championship Bracket, they ought to get along pretty well.
The two competed on the court last season, making a run that landed them all the way to runner-up in the state. This year, however, the duo believes their added chemistry and experience will earn them the title.
“I was able to call her (Hull) and practice more,” Mallette said. “We are just closer this year chemistry wise.”
Despite having different playing styles on the court, the two have now learned how to highlight each other’s strengths during a match.
“We just play really well together,” Hull said. “We have both played tennis for almost all our life, so when we came together we bonded.
“We both have to put trust in each other. You have to use the other person, because you can’t just do it alone. The chemistry is pretty good between the both of us.”
While both players are hungry for another chance at a state title, the pressure is increased for Mallette in his senior year. Hull, a sophomore, said she would like nothing more than to help her teammate go out on top.
“I think last year we both got a little tired and shut down,” Hull said. “This year we are going to keep going and give it everything we posibily have, because this is his last year. I think we can do it.”
West Lauderdale head tennis coach Amy Fairchild said, often times a mixed-doubles pair can make it far with just a really strong boy and a decent girl. However, this year Fairchild said the Knights have two powerful players in the duo.
“The sky is the limit,” Fairchild said. “We can do a lot of damage. The situation we have, with a really strong girl and a really strong boy, is why they are ranked No. 1 going into the tournament.”
Mallette and Hull will begin the 4A Mixed Doubles Tournament with a first- round pairing against John Wheeler and Symone Crawford of Greenwood High School on May 14.
Team Championships will begin today with 1A , 3A and 5A schools competing at Ridgland Tennis Center, while 2A, 4A and 6A teams compete at Bridges Tennis Center in Jackson.
Individual Championships begin Tuesday, May 14, with the same classifications participating at the same locations.
Others to watch.
Rachael Sollie and Rebekah Jackson of West Lauderdale are the No. 2 seed in 4A Girs Doubles.
Newton County’s David Brand and Bryden Reed are the No. 2 see in 4A Boys Doubles.
Newton County’s Shannon St. Clair is the No.1 seed in 4A Girls Singles.
Newton County’s Mackenzie Rowzee and Kayley Bufkin are the No. 1 seed in 4A Girls Doubles.
Meridian’s Meme Huff is the No. 6 see in 6A Girls Singles.
Clarkdale will face Madison St. Joe in the 2A Team State Championship today at Bridges Tennis Center in Jackson.