The Westwood girls take home the GISA Class A team state title.
AUGUSTA — There was nothing left for Sydnee Smith to do.
She had won it all — again.
The cake, the icing and more all belonged to Smith, a four-time individual state tennis champ who is relentless on the court she has learned to own with toughness and savvy and courage.
So she did the only thing she could do.
“It was one of those bittersweet moments,’’ said Smith Wednesday afternoon after Westwood won the GISA Class A girls team state tennis title. “We won, but you realize it’s the end — the end of your high school career. It’s sad.’’
She stood there and let it all wash over her — an incomparable high school career.
“I just thought of everything,’’ she said. “Everything I have been through in high school and all my friends.’’
That’s what made the team title so precious for Smith, a four-time Herald Player of the Year in tennis who lost just one match in the last four seasons. She won her fourth individual state title last week. Outside of a match in which she had to withdraw with an injury, Smith didn’t lose a game over the last three seasons, but this wasn’t about her.
“Winning the team title means so much more,’’ she said. “It’s everything you go through together, and its being able to pull for each other, and winning it together. It’s the best. It’s just the best. It’s great to win as an individual, but to be able to win with a team and feel that ... That tops everything.’’
It was Westwood’s second consecutive girls team title, and the Lady Wildcats had no trouble beating David Emmanuel 3-0 in the semifinals and taking the title, 3-0, against Oak Mountain.
Savannah Jones won her second match of the day in eight minutes. That’s how dominating Westwood was as Laken Lewis won at No. 3 singles and the No. 1 doubles team of Claire Collins, junior, and Ashley Bush, a freshman, and No. 2 doubles team of eighth-grader Cali Smith (Sydnee’s younger sister) and Mary Parker Westbrook, a sophomore, took home the team title along with Sydnee Smith, who won every match 6-0.
Westwood’s boys beat David Emmanuel 3-0 in the semifinals and finished second to Brandon Hall, but made a statement with one of the youngest teams in the state.
Garrett Elmore, a freshman, is the No. 1 singles player, and No. 2 Matthew Tucker is an eighth-grader. No. 3 Brandon Pham is a freshman, and the doubles teams of Will High (eighth grade) and Dylan Larkin (junior) and Zachary Delk (eighth grade) and Daniel Gay (junior) will all be back next year.
“When you have three eighth-graders and two ninth-graders finish second at state, that’s pretty good,’’ said Westwood coach Carol Powell. “I’m amazed and I’m looking forward to next year. It’s going to be interesting.’’
Powell was almost at a loss for words for Sydnee, who has meant so much to the program.
“She’s just incredible,’’ Powell said. “She’s just awesome. Every time she plays, she wins.’’