Brookstone, Columbus sweep All-Bi-City tennis awards

dmitchell@ledger-enquirer.comJune 12, 2013 

Among the girls and boys tennis coaches and players of the year, two schools are represented.

There is Brookstone, which featured the top girls and boys tennis players in the area in singles players Avery Hudson and Kazuki Onoe. Mary Lynn Cumiskey, a staple as the girls coach of the year, held that distinction once again despite Brookstone's second-round exit in the state playoffs.

Also represented is Columbus, which was led to a state championship by boys coach Betsy Zachry.

Long after the Blue Devils hoisted the trophy, Zachry said she is still enjoying the ride.

Coaches of the year

It's hard to look forward when such great accomplishment is in the rearview. Just ask Zachry, who led the Columbus boys to their first state championship.

"We're still riding that feeling," Zachry said. "Enjoying that championship."

The team made it on a combination of senior leadership and Zachry's ability to convince the players they were good enough to make a run. The coach said she believed coming into the season the Blue Devils had what it took.

"I don't think it was a huge jump," she said. "I think the potential was there, last year especially. I just think we set the tone early this year that this was something we would shoot for. We weren't happy just improving and gain

ing experience. We wanted to win."

That was evident when the team picked up its first win over Auburn early in the season.

"My biggest contribution was probably trying to make them understand what that meant," Zachry said. "That they could do it. Begin to believe they had a chance."

They rolled to a 20-6 record and a win over Madison County in the state finals.

Cumiskey's Lady Cougars may not have gotten the hardware the Columbus boys did, but they nonetheless performed at a high level once again.

In the playoffs, they lost in the second round, but had to go through stiff competition to get there, considering the move to a public-private split in Class A.

Cumiskey said the real indication of how well the team performed was its wins over teams it had lost to a year ago.

"We had three or four wins over teams we lost to (last year), and our players remembered that," Cumiskey said. "They were ready to play and overcome that. I thought that was a great accomplishment."

Cumiskey, ever the motivator, said she tried to help the players improve their games mentally.

The impact was evident throughout the season.

Players of the year

Onoe and Hudson, a pair of Brookstone standouts, get the nod as the Bi-City's best players because of their success against the toughest competition.

Both played at No. 1 singles, meaning they were matched up against opponents' top players on a regular basis.

Onoe finished with a 15-5 record, managing to pick up a win against Columbus' top singles player Ellis Bunn, who made the All-Bi-City first-team and led the Blue Devils to a state championship.

Hudson was 12-5, won all of her postseason matches and rarely struggled throughout the season.

"To me, she's one of the most well-rounded young ladies I've coached," Cumiskey said of Hudson. "Not only as a great athlete, but academically as well. She does so many things."

Cumiskey noted Hudson's ability to move around from singles to doubles and back to singles to help the team.

"She's just an all-around player, who is very easily coached," Cumiskey said.

Both the Brookstone boys and girls advanced to the second round, where they fell to Walker, which won the state championship for both.

David Mitchell, 706-571-8571; Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports.

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