Mission Accomplished!

Published 8:38 am Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

ROCKY MOUNT – In early September, coach Elton Winslow had an inkling of good things to come.

Although his girls tennis team at Ridgecroft School was fresh off a loss against Rocky Mount Academy, he saw their passion to perform at a high level of completion.

Two months and 10 wins later, the Lady Rams stand at the top of the tennis world as Ridgecroft defeated Cape Fear Christian Academy on Saturday at the North Carolina Wesleyan College courts to win the 2023 NCISAA Class 1A Dual Team Tennis Championship.

“I’m so proud of the way we played and finished off the season,” Winslow said. “These young ladies were very coachable and they supported each other throughout the season.”

Winslow said his team took to heart his suggestion to start matches with a bang.

“Team tennis matches start with doubles, so I stressed to the girls that winning those three matches puts us in the driver’s seat right off the bat,” he said. “Winning all three doubles matches intensifies the pressure on your opponent as they have to win five of the six singles matches to beat you.”

It’s evident that the Lady Rams took their coach’s advice. After starting the season with a split (3-3) of doubles matches, Ridgecroft was 32-4 over the remainder of the schedule.

In Saturday’s title game, Ridgecroft swept the three doubles matches as the top-seeded duo of Belle Turner and Kate Chamblee defeated Ella John Dupree / Karson Hamilton (8-4); second seeded Molly Brown and Karley Jo Rose defeated Savannah Autry / Lily Kate Dupree (8-6); and third seeded Sidney Jones and Elizabeth Brown defeated Ella Butts / Courtney Butts (8-2).

In singles play, only three of the six matches posted final scores. Chamblee, seeded #2, defeated Hamilton (7-5, 6-3) and Rose, seeded 5th, didn’t drop a set in a 6-0, 6-0 win over Ella Butts.

Courtney Butts notched the lone win for Cape Fear as she defeated Annie Batts (6-4, 6-2).

“We came into Saturday’s final very focused on what we had to do,” Winslow stated. “That focus started the day before (Friday, Oct. 27) at practice. They wanted to keep practicing and that told me they were ready. They worked hard, practiced hard all year, they kept getting better all along the way.”

The state title was the fifth in the history of Ridgecroft School. They previously won state championships in softball, boys soccer, girls soccer, and golf.


About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal