Meridian Star

Sports

April 10, 2014

Newton County High tennis standout reaches milestone

MERIDIAN — Newton County High School’s Bryden Reed has accomplished plenty in his high school tennis career.

    As a ninth grader, he made the state finals, and was a state champion as both a 10th and 11th grader in boy’s doubles.

Now competing in mixed doubles, Reed, along with partner Kirbi Hurst, claimed a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Northeast Jones High School in the district individual tournament Wednesday, and now advances to the state tournament to be played April 30 at the Ridgeland Tennis Center.

    Additionally, Wednesday’s win proved special for Reed in that he has notched 101 career wins.

    “I’m just blessed,” Reed said. “I haven’t had any major injuries to keep me from achieving 100 wins. I’ve got a great coach who taught me how to win. He was my first coach. He gave me lessons when I first stated. He’s spent numerous hours with me on the court and in the summer just working on my game and getting me where i need to be.”

    That coach is Chad Bond, who has a strong admiration for his star senior.

    “He’s one of the best players we’ve ever had play at our school,” Bond said. “And I’ll tell you the best part about him: As good as athlete as he is, he’s such a good player mentally. He knows the right shots and anticipates well.”

    For Reed, physical attributes and an exceptional work ethic have attributed to his successful career.

    “He works very hard at all the things he does,” Bond said. “Anything that he does, he’s going to do at 100 percent. He’s like having a coach on the court. He approaches the game from a coach’s point of view and has since he was young.”

    Reed’s recent success has come with adversity after his mixed-doubles partner, Mackie Smith, sustained an ACL injury earlier this year. Yet Reed and his new teammate have bridged the gap flawlessly.

    “Me and Kirbi have always been great friends,” Reed said. “There’s always been camaraderie between us, so it didn’t take long to learn how to play together.”

    Though Reed is showered with accomplishments on the court, Bond said it’s what he does away from tennis that is perhaps most valued to the squad.

    “He’s a great leader,” Bond said. “A lot of our team is eight and ninth graders, and he has had a huge influence on them. Just teaching them how to be an athlete, how to be a ball player, how we want our tennis program to be run and what’s expected.

    “I know he’s handled things before it even comes to my attentions. He just takes care of it.”

    On the court, Reed relishes competition and is constantly seeking to test his mettle against the best.

    “That kind of athlete you want (as a coach) on the field when the game is on the line,” Bond said. “And he wants to be in that spot ... He tells me, ‘Coach, whatever court their best player is playing on, I want to be on that court.”

    When Reed and Hurst take the court April 30 at the state tournament, Reed will have an opportunity to become the first tennis player in NCHS history to record three state titles.

    “There’s going to be great competition as always,” Reed said. “But hopefully, we can pull through.”

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