EW’s Carpenter, Parker team up for state championship

By Rocky Higginbotham

Webster Progress Times

The East Webster duo of John Carpenter and Rhett Parker blitzed their way through the field last week to claim the Class 1A-2A boys’ doubles championship at the MHSAA State High School Individual Tennis Championships.

Carpenter and Parker were the No. 1 seed entering the three-day tournam ent, and they played like it throughout.

They opened the tourney with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Brantley Brister and Tucker Hoegins of Loyd Star, then the East Webster duo beat Enterprise-Lincoln’s Toby White and Zach Hodges 6-0, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.

In the semis, Carpenter and Parker won 6-1, 6-1 over the No. 4 seeded Tanner Bevard and Will Parker of Sacred Heart. And in the championship, they topped No. 3 seeded Parks Harrison and Will Leathers of Tupelo Christian Prep School, 6-4, 6-4.

Carpenter and Parker’s state title capped a good week for representatives from both East Webster and Eupora in the individual tennis tourney. East Webster had a qualified entrant in all five events at the state tourney, while Eupora qualified in four of the five events.

Here’s a rundown of how those competitors fared:

— BOYS SINGLES: East Webster’s Jacob Wofford and Eupora’s Richard Hernandez each turned in solid performances.

Wofford, the No. 3 seed, got an easy win in the opening round and then defeated Caleb Harrison of Taylorsville 6-1, 6-2 i the quarterfinals. In the semis, he lost 6-0, 6-0 to second-seeded Patrick Roth of Resurrection.

Roth had also eliminated Hernandez in the quarterfinals before falling to state champion Stedman Strickland of Madison St. Joseph. Strickland did not lose a single game in any of his four tournament matches.

Hernandez opened the tourney with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Corey Jones of Pisgah. He fell to Roth 6-0, 6-0 in the semifinals.

— GIRLS SINGLES: Eupora’s Madison Hester and East Webster’s Melony Berryhill both reached the quarterfinals.

Hester opened the tournament with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Paige Oster. In the quarterfinals, the Meridian Community College signee lost 6-4, 6-0 to second-seeded Ashlyn Locke of Loyd Star.

Berryhill won 6-2, 6-0 over Meridith Morris of Baldwyn in the opening round. She fell to Rachel VanHorn of Winona 6-1, 6-2 in the quarterfinals, and VanHorn went on to win the state title.

— GIRLS DOUBLES: The East Webster duo of JonHayden Hancock and Mary Mae Turner opened the tournament with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Shelby Doiron and Caleigh Hankins of Madison St. Joseph.

In the quarterfinals, Hancock and Turner fell 6-0, 6-0 to the Sacred Heart duo and fourth-seeded Bella Posey and Anna Taylor.

Eupora’s Lillie Burton and Wesleigh Cummings fell 6-3, 6-3 in opening-round action to Courtney Buffington and Madison Crapps of Pisgah.

— MIXED DOUBLES: East Webster’s duo of Charlie Brand and Claire Ferguson had a stellar run through the tournament, as the unseeded pair finished as state runners-up.

Brand and Ferguson opened the tourney with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Rachel Gray and Jason May of French Camp Academy. In the quarterfinals, they captured a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 win over No. 3 seeded Edward Boland and Lillie Boland of Resurrection Catholic.

In the semifinals, Brand and Ferguson won 6-2, 7-6 over Hannah Hopson and Jack Posey of Sacred Heart; but they lost 7-5, 6-0 in the championship to Tupelo Christian’s Mary Grace Gaines and Hank Leathers.

Eupora’s Jaime Hernandez and Kaelyn Mitchell dropped a first-round, mixed doubles match to Hopson and Posey of Sacred Heart.