State champs highlight county: Hefter and Albright win Shelby County titles

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Defense of two state titles continued this week, as Arie Hefter of Indian Springs and Catherine Marie Albright of Briarwood Christian, both undefeated on the year, led their teams to victory in the boys and girls Shelby County tennis tournaments.

Indian Springs captured five first place finishes for the boys on Friday, while the Briarwood girls, in their first year of competition at the county meet, had seven, including a sweep of the doubles competition on Monday.

&8220;It is awesome to get this win. It&8217;s a lot of fun to come and see a lot of good players from Shelby County. I&8217;m just real proud of my girls and how hard they&8217;re playing,&8221; BCS head coach Chris Laatsch said.

Hefter suffered an early threat Friday morning in the No. 1 singles semifinals, as Pelham&8217;s John Flanikan took the first set of the match.

&8220;I was kind of in la-la land that first set, but luckily I

pulled it together and he didn&8217;t get to win a game after that,&8221; Hefter said.

He went on to defeat Oak Mountain&8217;s Dalton Walsh in the final 6-2, 6-3.

&8220;He hit the ball a lot harder than in the past and it was hard to keep up with,&8221; Walsh said in comparison to their last meeting two years ago.

While Hefter&8217;s win was part of Indian Springs&8217; success, head coach Boo Mason says it was the points provided in doubles that helped his team hold off Oak Mountain.

Albright faced her mid-week tennis partner and friend Alli Nolen in the girls No. 1 singles final on Monday, battling to a 7-6 win in the first set before taking the second set 6-1.

&8220;I think the first set lasted so long that by the second set we were both just out of energy,&8221; said Albright.

The win keeps her undefeated on the season, despite losing a few neighborhood court matches with Nolen on the side.

&8220;We play several times a week and it always goes back and forth,&8221; Nolen said of her tennis friendship with Albright since the seventh grade.

The pair will meet again on Oak Mountain&8217;s home court at Heardmont Park on Tuesday.

&8220;Oh wow, that&8217;s next week..It&8217;ll be another long match, that&8217;s all I can say,&8221; Albright said when thinking about the hour and 15 minute battle in Monday&8217;s final.

Just like the Indian Springs boys, Laatsch credits his No. 2 doubles with aiding the victory.

Albright&8217;s singles win gave the Lions a 34-30 lead over OMHS, followed by six more points in a No. 2 doubles semifinal win over Oak Mountain by Abby Cunningham, who was battling a leg injury, and Alex Epps, who went on to win the final