ROGERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Lauderdale County girl’s tennis team made history this past week, becoming the first public school to win the Class 1A-3A state team title. They have just one senior on their team, Sara Childress, who won both her singles and doubles titles, leading them to that victory. For that, she is the Hiley Mazda Key Athlete of the Week.
“It feels pretty good because I know that no other public school has done that and we haven’t even had a lot of state wins on our team so it feels pretty good to be the first. Very surprised and proud of myself and the rest of my team,” Childress said.
“She really showed up on Tuesday and knew that was what she wanted. Watching her play, watching her battle back was impressive. I am so proud of her for that and I know that that’s something that she’ll carry with her forever. She played hard last year in state and came up short but this year, watching her be able to pull that together and come home with that, I know that’s something that she and I will share forever, that’s a memory she’ll be able to hold on to for the rest of her life,” Lauderdale County girls tennis head coach Haleigh Woodard added.
Childress had a lot of self-doubt during the season and at the state tournament but she knew that her teammates always had her back, including her doubles partner Anna Paige Davis.
“It was really rough at the beginning, we had to work through a lot. Both of us doubted ourselves every match but we ended up pulling a lot of them,” Childress said.
And all of that encouragement and those moments at practice are what Childress will miss the most now that her high school career is over.
“This team is all of my closest friends, my best friends, I wouldn’t trade any memory with them for anything,” Childress said.
But Childress has left her mark on the Lauderdale County tennis program and she hopes that the lessons that she learned will carry over as this team continues to make even more history in the future.
“Sara makes everybody laugh, she’s a lot of fun to be around, she’s always got a positive attitude and a bright light and we appreciate that. Sara will be very missed by her team. She’s a joy to be around so having her absence on the team will be a tough hole to fill but I’m sure she’ll be back,” Woodard said.
“I’m jealous that they get to continue to move on without me and continue, I’m going to show up to all of their practices next year but I know that they’re going to do good. Now that they know that they can do it, some of them just have to get out of their heads, but I think they have it overall,” Childress added.
We are always looking for standout student-athletes in the Tennessee Valley to feature! If you have a high-school-aged athlete that you would like to nominate for Hiley Mazda Key Athlete of the week, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.