Briarwood tennis teams take fourth in boys, girls division at state
By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor
While the Briarwood Christian tennis teams weren’t able to take home the AHSAA Class 5A overall titles for team competition, head coach Jeremy Mears said he had no complaints.
The Lions’ girls team failed to repeat as overall team champions, but Mears said he was proud of the effort put forth by the team.
“These kids have invested a lot of time,” he said. “It’s nice to see fruit (from their labor).”
The Lions’ girls squad finished fourth out of 12 teams at the state tournament, but No. 1 starter Ashley Ochsenshirt took home an individual state championship. Mears said that while the result wasn’t what was hoped for, the program wasn’t fretting just yet.
“It would’ve been nice to repeat,” he said. “On the girls side, we returned everyone from last year. Anything but a state championship was going to be a disappointment. We’re still young, (and) only lost one senior. I think we’re going to have a chance next year. I expect big things.”
On the boys side of things, Mears said the boys team stepped up on the state level this season. The team also finished fourth, with Thomas Collier taking the No. 3 starter’s championship in individual play.
“The guys were a nice surprise,” he said. “(They) played really well (Thomas) played some good tennis (and) battled through a back injury.”
As strong as this season was, Mears —who took over as head coach in February after serving as an assistant— said he was looking forward to his first offseason as head coach.
“Our junior high team is really talented,” he said. “Tyouts in the fall are going to be tough. They had a great year. Being the head guy, there’s a lot more responsibility. Knowing the kids, that part went smoothly.”
In addition to their placing at state, the girls’ squad took the Shelby County championship, the Austin Invitational and captured the sectional title, as did the boys team.
Mears said he expected the team to be even stronger next season.
“I enjoy coaching these guys,” he said. “I think the future’s bright for Briarwood tennis.”