The Baconton Charter girls tennis team and coach Julia McKenzie pose with the Class A state championship trophy on Saturday after beating Irwin County, 3-1, to claim the school’s first team state title in any sport.
By Stan Awtrey
SPECIAL TO THE HERALD
JONESBORO — The Baconton Charter girls went to the Clayton County International Park Tennis Center with a mission on Saturday to bring home the school’s first team state championship.
The Lady Blazers overwhelmed Irwin County with three decisive singles matches and won the Class A Public School championship, beating the Indians 3-1 and setting off a loud cheer on the southern courts at the facility.
The girls became the first Baconton team in any sport to play for — and win — a state championship.
“This is amazing,” said No. 1 singles player Abbey Anglin, who finished her senior season in championship form. “This is what we’ve been playing for.”
Anglin started the day with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Maddie Carlton. From there the Lady Blazers continued to pour it on.
Sierra Davis whipped Payton Posey, 6-2, 6-1, in the No. 2 singles draw, and Allissa McCook beat Summer Pridgen, 6-0, 6-1, at No. 3 singles.
The No. 1 doubles team of Hannah Hays and Jaycee Santos lost their match to Irwin’s Jordan Jankiewicz and Jayden Jankiewicz. The No. 2 team of Marcey Bullington and Susan Bankston never got to start.
Baconton finished the season 17-3, and coach Julia McKenzie said the championship didn’t come as a surprise.
“I kind of felt like this was going to be our year,” she said. “We had some strong individuals and they all get along so well.”
Baconton had little trouble in the playoffs. The Blazers opened with a 5-0 win over Hawkinsville, followed that with a 3-0 victory over Trion and a 3-1 win over Telfair County in the semifinals.
“I knew we were going to be a really strong team this year,” Anglin said. “We were a little nervous. Everybody was so pumped up and ready to play.”
Anglin finished the season undefeated and will continue her career next fall at Abraham Baldwin, where she’s earned a scholarship.
“It feels good to leave high school with a state championship,” she said. “We did what we were supposed to do.”
It was a good season for Baconton tennis. The boys team reached the semifinals before they were eliminated earlier in the week.