Westminster finishes runner-up at state tennis tourney

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

MOBILE – Behind two individual state champions, one doubles state champion and several other highlights, the Westminster at Oak Mountain boys’ tennis team was able to finish runner-up at the 2021 AHSAA Class 1A-3A State Tennis Tournament April 19-20.

Mitchell Drennen in No. 4 singles and Daniel Whitley in No. 5 singles were the two individual state champions for the Knights, while Drennen teamed up with Ben Brannan to bring home the No. 2 doubles title as well.

The performances for those three helped Westminster total 34 points in the team standings to finish second behind Houston Academy, who totaled 50 points.

The Knights also finished second in No. 1 singles and No. 3 doubles.

In No. 1 singles, Grant Eller made it to the championship match with two straight-set victories before losing to Houston Academy’s Mitchel Piedra.

In No. 3 doubles, Westminster lost its most heartbreaking matchup in three sets. Whitley teamed up with Andrew Robinson in the match, and the duo won the first set 6-4.

The script flipped after that with a 6-4 loss in the second set, forcing a tiebreaker. In a tight battle, it was Houston Academy that was able to get the 11-8 win in the third set to take home the championship.

In the championship wins for the Knights, both Drennen and Whitley made it to the title match without dropping a set.

Drennen won the first two rounds 6-2, 6-0 and 6-1, 6-2 to advance to the championship match against Houston Academy’s Jason Mun. Drennen then closed out a dominant championship run with another straight-set victory thanks to scores of 6-4 and 6-2.

Whitley had more of a challenge in the championship match after winning the first two matches 6-4, 6-1 and 6-1, 6-1.

He took the first set against Houston Academy’s Willis McRae 6-3 but dropped the second set in a tight 7-6 matchup.

That led to a third-set tiebreaker, which saw Whitley come out on top 10-8 to claim the championship.

In the doubles championship, Drenan and Brannan made their path to the title look easy. They won the opening matchup 6-1, 6-2 and the semifinal match 6-4, 6-4 to earn a spot in the title.

With confidence, the duo started off the championship match with a bang, taking the first set 6-0. The second set was tighter, but their confidence couldn’t be overtaken in a 7-5 victory to complete the championship win.