University School of Jackson tennis coach Ted Measley was confident all season in the Lady Bruins’ ability to win the TSSAA Division II-A girls’ tennis state championship.
The team had won the previous two championships with most of the talent back in 2023 to go for a three-peat.
Then when the Lady Bruins qualified for the championship, two of the other three teams at state were teams they’d already beaten to get to the state tournament.
“We liked the matchups, but we weren’t sure of [Christian Academy of Knoxville] because we hadn’t played them yet this year and they’ve got a talented team,” Measley said.
But injuries affected CAK in their semifinal matchup with Lausanne, and Lausanne moved on to face USJ in the championship.
The teams met in the region championship a couple weeks earlier, with USJ winning, but that matchup had to go to doubles before the Lady Bruins could claim the championship.
That didn’t happen the second time around when they met at Spring Fling.
“Our girls were playing great when they got to Murfreesboro, and they didn’t let this match get to doubles,” Measley said.
After sweeping St. George’s 4-0 in the state semifinals, the Lady Bruins made quick work of Lausanne in the championship with a 4-0 victory and a third straight championship.
“We talked a lot throughout the year about not being complacent or over-confident,” Measley said. “And I don’t think they ever did.
“They did a great job of working hard every week to get better and better because they knew they would probably get everybody’s best game all season.”
But that wasn’t the only state championship USJ tennis came home from Spring Fling with.
Preston Miller and Jack Wilkerson also defeated a team from Lausanne to claim the championship in the Division II-A boys doubles.
The team they beat actually beat them the year before in the championship.
“Our guys worked hard all year to get better, and they played a great match,” Measley said. “They really improved, and their shots were on.
“And they were also able to capitalize on the other team’s mistakes, which is what championship teams do in tough situations.”
USJ came close to more hardware coming home. A girls’ doubles team finished as state runner-up. The boys’ team made it to the state semifinals.
Measley said that top level of competition from the Bruins is a testament to the hard work of the athletes, but also the investment in the tennis program by the school.
“This was our first season to have our full indoor facilities, and when teams came to play at our place this year and saw all these trophies and everything we had, they knew USJ is serious about its tennis,” Measley said. “It gives us the resources that help us to be a better team, and we try to live up to the standard that’s been set by those who’ve come before us.”
Brandon Shields, firstname.lastname@example.org