Deerfield boys, Westwood girls tennis finishes state runner-up at team tourney

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

AUGUSTA -- So much for the clean sweep.

After players from Deerfield and Westwood's girls tennis teams won state titles in the GISA Individual State Tournament on Monday, the DWS boys -- which won Region 3-AAA -- and the Region 3-A champion Westwood girls and boys both traveled to Augusta on Wednesday for the final rounds of the GISA State Team Tournament.

The Knights, however, couldn't close the deal, falling to Stratford in the finals to finish as state runner-up.

It was the first time in almost a decade, however, that a boys tennis team from Deerfield had made it this far.

"After they had a few minutes to lick their wounds and sit down over dinner, I think it sunk in how far they had come and what they'd accomplished," said DWS boys and girls coach Meredith Gruhl, whose

No. 1 Sister Act doubles team of Sarah and Hope Kitchen won the individual title Monday. "I just told them I was really, really proud of them and that they had a great year. They should really feel honored to be one of the top two teams in the state."

DWS started off by beating George Walton -- a school that's likely getting "very sick of Deerfield," by now, Gruhl said.

After all, the Knights played (and lost to) George Walton in the football state title game late last year, then won in the Final Four in boys basketball in March.

"It's just, like, everywhere we go, we see them these days," Gruhl said.

As for Westwood, the boys lost to David Emanuel in the state semis, despite a win from Wildcats doubles duo, Daniel Hays and Dylan Larkin.

As for the girls, who saw No. 1 star Sydnee Smith win her second straight title earlier this week in singles, they beat DEA in the semis, but them lost to Oak Mountain in the finals.

"I just told both (teams) I was proud of them," Westwood coach Carole Powell said. "Especially the guys because I never thought they would make it this far and they did."