By John R. Schirmer
ARKADELPHIA – The Nashville Scrapperettes won the District 7-4A girls tennis championship Monday afternoon on the courts at Ouachita Baptist University.
The Scrappers were district runners-up.
It was an all-Nashville match-up in the girls doubles finals. Kendall Kirchhoff and Olivia Herzog defeated Scrapperette teammates McKenzie Morphew and Leslie Lingo for the championship. Kirchhoff, a senior, competed in high school tennis for the first time.
Nashville Coach Damon Williams was named the District 7-4A Girls Coach of the Year.
Both Scrapperette doubles teams will advance to the state Class 4A tournament Oct. 17-18 at Arkansas Tech in Russellville.
On the boys side, Glenn Hartness and Zach Backus won the district championship and will advance to state.
Overall, “It was a great day,” Williams said, “a great day for Scrapperette and Scrapper tennis.”
Williams said the Scrapperettes “came ready to play. The bracket was set not completely in our favor. I told them that we have to beat everybody anyway. I told them to stay focused, and they did.”
Lingo and Morphew were down to Central Arkansas Christian but came back and won the tie-breaker. Maddie Pinkerton “got us a point. She won her first match. Amber [Barnett] took her opponent to the wire.”
Pinkerton and Barnett are both ninth graders.
Going into the girls doubles championship game between the two Scrapperette teams, Williams told Kirchhoff, Herzog, Morphew and Lingo that “You’re all champions. It doesn’t matter about the outcome. Get out there and play and have fun. They did. There weren’t any hard feelings. They hugged each others’ necks after the game. They’re excited about where they’re going.”
For the Scrappers, Eli Howard won his first match to earn a point for Nashville. “Then he ran up against one of the best in the state,” Williams said.
Caleb Newton and Zack Williams lost a tie-breaker in their match.
Hartness and Backus “played well. Their semifinal was tough. They won the first set, lost the second and won the tie-breaker.” The duo defeated Central Arkansas Christian 6-3, 6-2 in the finals.
“It’s not often that you have a day like that in tennis, especially with the private schools playing. Both teams were in the finals. That’s pretty sweet,” Williams said.
“Days like that make all those long days and hot practices worth it.”