Multiple Teams · Boys tennis wins State Championship, Girls place second

Congratulations to the Florence boy’s tennis team for winning the first state championship in Florence High School history.  Also, congratulations to the Florence girl’s tennis team for their 2nd place finish in the state.  

To read more about the tennis team’s performance, click the links below:

Times Daily: Florence nets 1st state title in school history

DECATUR — Miller Barnes epitomized the mindset of the Florence boys tennis team this season.

A senior, Barnes battled a herniated disk throughout the season, requiring continued treatment before, during and after matches. But he played on, and in the end his perseverance paid off in a big way as he was part of the team’s first state championship celebration Tuesday at the Point Mallard tennis complex.

After a near-miss a year ago and settling for a state runner-up trophy, Florence achieved its preseason goal with a four-point win over Northview in the final standings. The Falcons got individual titles from Luke Singletary and Noah Tompkins, while the doubles teams of Nick Hester and Tompkins and Singletary and Barnes also won titles.

The Falcons finished with 48 points. Northview was second with 44 points, while Walker was third with 43 points. Muscle Shoals, which handed Florence a mid-season loss, was a distant fourth with 33 points.

Florence’s girls nearly matched the boys, finishing second to Decatur in the team standings. Lilly Holmes won the state title at No. 1 singles and Ruby Cunningham at No. 5 to spark the runner-up finish. Decatur had 64 points; Florence finished with 46.

“I just had to grit my teeth and not give in,” Barnes said. “I’ve had issues with my back since the eighth grade, and when I woke up this morning I didn’t think there was any way I would be able to play. But I have been taking Ibuprofren and muscle relaxers, and I was hooked up to a Tens unit to sooth the nerves.”

The treatment paid off as he and Singletary won a three-set final 6-2, 2-6, 6-0 over Muscle Shoals.

Nick Hester and Tompkins beat Walker 7-5, 6-2 in the championship match.

Singletary beat Andy Huling of Opelika 6-4, 6-1 to win at No. 3, while Tompkins beat Walker’s Jack Bowen 6-3, 6-3 at No. 5. Noah Davis of Florence reached the championship match at No. 4 with a grueling 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 win over Walker’s John Bertoldi but was forced to retire before the title match with an injury.

“It feels pretty good to finish it out with a blue map the school has never had,” Singletary said. “All the extra work we put in during and after practice paid off. We knew could do it even after losing to Muscle Shoals in the regular season. We couldn’t worry about it, we just had to play.”

Tompkins said he knew Florence had a chance, but there was little margin for error heading into the final day.

“We were second last year so we knew we had a chance,” he said. “We had only five courts in play, but we were able to finish it off.”

“It truly was a team effort,” coach Donna Garner said. “Their goal was to make school history.”

Muscle Shoals had six courts in play entering the final day, but only the No. 1 doubles team of Ethan Aycock and Tyler Bishop and No. 3 team of Zach Mastin and Jackson Hall made it past the semifinals.

For the Falcons girls, Holmes won her second straight singles title with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Maggie White of Homewood. She reached the championship with a 6-2, 6-0 win over India Woods of Northridge.

Cunningham beat Hillcrest’s Carmen Tidwell 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 to win at No. 5, while Madeline Creel lost to Decatur’s Beverly Fite 6-3, 6-0 in the No. 4 singles final. Martha Mitchener advanced to the No. 6 final before dropping a 5-7, 7-5. 6-0 decision to Dawson Fite of Decatur.

Holmes and Edy Smith lost in the No. 1 doubles championship 6-4, 7-6 to Homewood  Florence boys claim crown

In Decatur, the Florence boys captured the school’s first AHSAA state tennis championship, edging runner-up Northview 48-44 at the Class 6A State Championships. Defending champion Walker was third with 43.

Florence junior Lily Holmes also won the No. 1 singles title in the girls’ competition as the Falcons finished second to Decatur. The Red Raiders scored 64 points with runner-up Florence netting 46. Northridge had 42 to finish third. Bradshaw won the Class 5A boys tennis title in 2004. The school merged with Coffee High School the next school year to form Florence High.

The 6A boys’ No. 1 singles final was captured by Northview junior Chase Parker over Gulf Shores freshman Wes Lartigne, 6-1, 6-1. Walker’s Ben Hicks won at No. 2 singles. Florence freshman Luke Singletary won at No. 3, Northview’s Cody Barnes won at No. 4, Florence freshman Noah Tompkins captured 5 singles, and Walker’s Grayson Barber won at No. 6. Northview won at No. 1 doubles, Florence won at No. 2 and No. 3.

On the girls side, Decatur won singles titles at 3, 4 and 6 and at No. 2 and 3 doubles to capture the first girls’ state tennis title in school history. Holmes won the No. 1 singles final over Homewood freshman Maggie White, 6-1, 6-2.

Northridge’s Bella Swindoll won at No. 2. Decatur took over to win three of the last four singles championships as senior Anna Kathryn Layton won at No. 3, sophomore Beverly Fite won at No, 4 and sister Kimberly Fite, a seventh grader, won at No. 6. Florence netter Ruby Cunningham won the No. 5 singles.

Homewood won the No. 1 doubles and Florence sealed the title with wins at 2 and 3 doubles.