CLASS 4A/5A TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS UMS-Wright Extends Girls’ Streak, Briarwood Ends UMS Boys’ Streak at Class 4A/5A Tennis Tourney

MOBILE – UMS-Wright’s Lady Bulldogs won the AHSAA Class 4A/5A State Tennis Championship for the record-setting ninth consecutive year Tuesday running away from the pack with 81 points. Runner-up St. Paul’s Episcopal had 33 and Saint James was third with 32.
     The UMS-Wright boys came into the 2017 state tourney also riding a state-record eight-year winning state championship streak but saw it come to an end as Briarwood Christian and St. Paul’s Episcopal finished 1-2 with 57 and 51 points, respectively, in the 4A/5A boys’ competition. UMS was third with 42 points.
     In individual action, Saint James senior Aaron Skier downed Douglas senior Alex Wisener 6-3, 6-3 in the boys’ No. 1 singles finals of the AHSAA Class 4A/5A State Tennis Championships at Mobile Tennis Center Tuesday.
    Sophomore Audrey Sewell of UMS-Wright won the girls’ No. 1 singles title with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over fellow sophomore Emma Beth Teel of Trinity Presbyterian. Coach Meridy Jones’ team swept five of six singles finals and two of the three doubles. The No. 1 doubles championship match was not completed.
    Elizabeth Swain won at No. 2 for the Bulldogs while teammates Tianna Dixon, Martha Williams and Adelaide Bell were champions at 3, 4 and 5. Katie Rowan of St. Paul’s won the No. 6 single title.
   In doubles play, Dixon and Williams teamed to capture the No. 2 title, and Anna Miller combined with Ellen Williams to win at No. 3. Trinity’s No. 1 doubles team of Emma Beth and Mary Conley Teel are scheduled to meet Briarwood Christian’s Kateleigh Calloway and Kara Coleman in the No. 1 doubles finals Wednesday due to the four-match limitation rule. The site and time was not determined at press time.
Coach Jeremy Mears’ Lions posted two singles wins and one doubles win to grab the championship. Freshman John Wolf posted s win at No. 2 singles for Briarwood winning 6-0, 6-1 over Jimmy Mackin of St. Paul’s. Eighth grader Alex Felts also won at No. 4. Other singles winners were Patrick McGowin of UMS (No. 3), Jack Citrin of St. Paul’s (No. 4) and Thomas Treadwell of Trinity Presbyterian (No. 6).
    The No. 1 doubles match finals between Briarwood’s duo of John and Luke Wolf versus Aaron Skier and Stephen Sides of Saint James was also postponed to Wednesday due to the match limitation. St. Paul’s Nathan Smith and Kessler Park won at 2 doubles and the Lions picked up a big win at 3 with Tyler Guerra and Felts winning 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 over UMS-Wright’s Giddens Fort and Trey Fowler. That match sealed the championship.
   Tuesday’s complete team and individual results can be found at

Mountain Brook Sweeps AHSAA 7A Tennis Titles

    MONTGOMERY – Mountain Brook High School captured the AHSAA Class 7A boys’ and girls’ state tennis championships Tuesday in convincing fashion as the 2017 state tourney concluded at Lagoon Park.
    Coach Susan Farlow’s Spartans totaled 51 points in the boys’ division with runner-up McGill-Toolen Catholic second with 27. Vestavia Hills was third with 22. Farlow’s girls out-scored runner-up Spain Park 45-35 with Fairhope third with 23 points. The championships were the 28th overall for the Lady Spartans and 26th for the Mountain Brook boys. Both are AHSAA state records.
    McGill-Toolen junior Brooks Green captured the No. 1 singles championship with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) win over Mountain Brook senior Peter Hartman. Paul Jones (No. 3), Alva Caine (No. 5), William Watts (No. 6) won in their selected slots. McGill-Toolen’s Hallet Green won the No. 2 singles title and teammate Jordan Agagan won at No. 4.
    The Yellow Jackets’ duo, Hallett Green and Brooks Green, took the No. 1 doubles title beating Mountain Brook’s Hartman and David Faulkner 6-3, 6-4 in the finals.
The Lady Spartans’ strong depth helped Mountain Brook win three singles and two doubles titles. Sophomore Margaret Polk won the No. 1 singles for Farlow’s squad, beating Sydney Flesch of Huntsville 6-0, 6-2 in the finals. Polk won 36 of 39 games played in her six sets in the tourney.
    Spain Park’s Lindsay Song, Sydney Ellison and Mychelle Widra won at 2, 3 and 4. Mountain Brook’s Liz Vandevelde won No. 5 singles and teammate Morgan Jenkins won at No. 6.
    Sydney Ellison and Daryn Ellison beat the Enterprise duo of Mikaela Grubb and Lindsey Zerbinos in the No. 1 doubles finals, 6-0, 6-1. Mountain Brook’s Sarah Catherine Cooper and Cele Sullivan won at 2 doubles and the Lady Spartans’ team of Maggie Duggan and Liz Vandevelde won at No. 3.
    Complete team and individual results can be found at
www.ahsaa.com on its front page in the tennis section of in-season sports.   

CLASS 3A TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS Montgomery Academy Girls, Altamont Boys Win Titles

    MOBILE – Montgomery Academy’s girls won the AHSAA Class 1A /3A state tennis titles for the fifth time in the last six years and Altamont snapped the Eagles’ six-year championship run in the boys’ competition edging MA 61-55 Tuesday in the final day of the two-day tourney held at the Mobile Tennis Center.
     The Lady Eagles, coached by Tracy Smith, posted a 20-point cushion with 63 points as Montgomery Academy its 16th state crown overall dating back to 1971. Bayside Academy was second with 43 points and St. Luke’s of Mobile was third with 33.
      Altamont, coached by Barry Bearden, won it first state championship for the first time since 2010. 
     Eighth grader Kida Ferrari won the No. 1 singles title in the girls’ 1A/3A competition beating Houston Academy’s Nicola Voss 6-2, 6-0 in the championship match. Montgomery Academy’s Kate Dockery won at No. 2, Caroline Deale won No. 3 for the Eagles and teammate Martha Ernest won at No. 6. St. Luke’s Episcopal netter Whitney Novak won at No. 4 and Bayside’s Mary Catherine Branyon won at No. 6.
    Shoals Christian won the No. 1 doubles with Leigh Taylor Bishop and Karleigh Cross beating MA’s Elizabeth Robertson and Deale, 6-2, 6-4 in the finals. Novak and Anna Marie Bentley won at No. 2 and MA’s duo of Ernest and Lucy Chapman won at No. 3.
Montgomery Academy, coached by recently inducted Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame coach David Bethea, had won six straight 1A/3A tennis championships heading into the state tourney. Sophomore James Torbert, last year’s No. 2 singles winner, gave the Eagles a boost with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Houston Academy’s Braden Read in the No. 1 singles finals Tuesday.
   Altamont pulled out the championship with a win at No. 3 singles by Arjun Lakhanpal and doubles wins at No. 2 and 3 by the duos of Chris Mines and Arjun Guru and Mac Lidikay and Lakhanpal.
    Montgomery Academy won at No. 1 doubles with Torbert and William Robertson beating the Knights’ No. 1 doubles team Spencer Skidmore and Sameer Sultan.
    Houston Academy’s Collin Dorner and Trey Craven won No. 2 and No. 4 singles. Montgomery Academy’s Dalton Wallis and Hamilton Chapman won at 5 and 6 singles.
   Complete team and individual results can be found at
www.ahsaa.com on its front page in the tennis section of in-season sports.   

CLASS 6A TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS Decatur Girls, Florence Boys Win State Crowns

DECATUR – Florence High School’s boys captured the school’s first AHSAA state tennis championship in school history Tuesday edging runner-up Northview 48-44 at the Class 6A State Championships played at Jimmy Johns Tennis Center at Point Mallard in Decatur. Defending state champion Walker was third with 43.
    Florence junior Lily Holmes also won the No. 1 singles title in the girls’ competition as the Falcons finished second to Decatur. The Lady Red Raiders scored 64 points with runner-up Florence netting 46. Northridge had 42 to finish third
    Bradshaw on the Class 5A boys’ tennis title in 2004. The school merged with Coffee High School the next school year to form Florence High.
    The 6A boys’ No. 1 singles final was captured by Northview junior Chase Parker over Gulf Shores freshman Wes Lartigne, 6-1, 6-1. Walker’s Ben Hicks won at No. 2 singles. Florence freshman Luke Singletary won at No. 3, Northview’s Cody Bonds won at No. 4, Florence freshman Noah Tompkins captured 5 singles, and Walker’s Grayson Barber won at No. 6.
    Northview won at No. 1 doubles, Florence won at No. 2 and No. 3.
Coach Kyle Justice’s Lady Raiders won singles titles at 3, 4 and 6 and at No. 2 and 3 doubles to capture the first girls’ state tennis title in school history. Holmes won the No. 1 singles final over Homewood freshman Maggie White, 6-1, 6-2.
    Northridge’s Bella Swindoll won at No. 2. Decatur took over to win three of the last four singles championships as senior Anna Kathryn Layton won at No. 3, sophomore Beverly Fite won at No, 4 and sister Kimberly Fite, a seventh grader, won at No. 6. Florence netter Ruby Cunningham won the No. 5 singles.
    Homewood won the No. 1 doubles and Florence sealed the title with wins at 2 and 3 doubles.
    Complete team and individual results can be found at
www.ahsaa.com on its front page in the tennis section of in-season sports.   

Teams Set For 2017 Champions Challenge At Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl Aug. 24-25

      MONTGOMERY, AL – Four teams have been selected for the 12th annual AHSAA Champions Challenge Football Classic Aug. 24-25 at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl.
      The 2016 Champions Challenge, which will kick off the 2017 prep football season, will feature one game at 7 p.m., each night. Defending 1A state champion Maplesville and defending 2A state champion Fyffe will meet in the small-school game on Thursday. Hewitt-Trussville and Pell City will play in the large-school game Friday.
     The pairings were announced Tuesday by Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA), the AHSAA’s coaching organization, which hosts the event each year.
      “We are very excited about the two games we have lined up,” Briggs said. “The Fyffe versus Mapleville game pits two schools that were undefeated last season while the big-school game is a clash between two of the state’s up-and-coming programs. Each have storied histories and strong communities that love high school football. We thank the City of Montgomery for all they do to make these games possible each year.”
     Both games will be televised live over the Raycom Network in Alabama with WSFA TV 12 as the anchor station. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast the games live over its statewide radio network.
     Fyffe (15-0), coached by Paul Benefield, beat Aliceville 28-0 in the 2016 Class 2A finals at Jordan-Hare Stadium. It was the Red Devils’ second state championship in the last three years.   Fyffe outscored opponents 700-113 with the championship game win the Red Devils’ sixth shutout of the season.
    Coach Brent Hubbert’s Maplesville Red Devils (14-0) beat Pickens County 40-12 last December to claim Maplesville’s third straight Class 1A state title and extended Maplesville’s current winning streak to 23 in a row. His team outscored opponents 683-101 in 14 games last season.
     Pell City (6-5) reached the Class 6A state playoffs in Coach Keith Etheredge’s first season at the helm in 2016. He moved to Pell City from Leeds where he served as head coach for 10 seasons compiling a 113-39 record and four state championships. Etheredge’s teams have been known for their explosive offenses and smothering defenses.
    Floyd finished his third season at Hewitt-Trussville leading the Huskies (11-1) to a perfect 10-0 regular season record for the first time in the school’s 92-year football history.  Hewitt-Trussville also won the Class 7A, Region 8 title and outscored opponents 552-289 on the year.
   Floyd came to Trussville from Shiloh Christian (Ark.) where he led the school to a 99-21 record over 10 seasons with four state titles in five trips to the Arkansas state high school finals.
    The former prep quarterback’s high school coach was current Auburn University Coach Gus Malzahn.
     Benefield has s 255-52 career record including 210-41 at Fyffe. Hubbert is 143-23 at Maplesville and 160-38 overall.  Ethredge is 113-39 in his 11-year career (107-34 at Leeds) and Floyd is 121-33 overall and 22-12 at Hewitt over the last three seasons.
    Andalusia beat Brooks 34-13, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa downed Demopolis 42-7 and Hoover topped Central-Phenix City 23-7 in last year’s Champions’ Challenge.

Class 1A/3A Boys’ Teams Finish First Day Of State Championships in Tight Race

    MOBILE – Houston Academy held a slim 41-40 lead over six-time defending Class 1A/3A state boys’ tennis champion Montgomery Academy and Altamont after Monday’s first day of competition as the 2017 AHSAA  State Tennis Championships got underway at three sites.
     State tourneys for girls and boys are being held at Mobile Tennis Center for Classes 1A/3A and 4A/5A. The final round will get underway Tuesday morning. Class 7A girls’ and boys’ state tourneys are being held at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park Monday and Tuesday, and the Class 6A boys’ and girls’ state competition is underway the same two days at the Jimmy Johns Tennis Center located at Point Mallard in Decatur.
    James Tolbert of Montgomery Academy beat Cooper Montgomery of Donoho to advance out of the semis. Monday. He won all three matches Monday to reach the No. 1 singles finals for the first time. He captured No. 2 singles crown  in 2016
    He and older brother Bo also combined to win last year’s No. 1 doubles finals. Bo, who graduated in 2016, won the No. 1 singles title in ’16.
    Braden Read of Houston Academy was set to face Alex Cochran of Westbrook Christian in the other semifinal. That match had not been reported late Monday.
     Tolbert and William Robertson, who reached the No. 3 singles finals Monday, advanced to play Read and Collin Dorner of Houston Academy in the semifinals of No. 1 doubles.
     Montgomery Academy’s girls held a 40-33 lead over Bayside Academy in the girls’ 1A/3A competition Monday night. Houston Academy was third with 26 points and Altamont was fourth with 25. The Lady Eagles have won the state title eight of the last nine years.

BRIARWOOD LEADS 4A/5A BOYS’ TOURNEY:  Briarwood Christian held a six-point lead over the field in the Class 4A/5A state tournament at Mobile Tennis Center after Monday’s action. The Lions posted 38 points with LAMP and St. Paul’s Episcopal are tied for second with 32 points. UMS-Wright, winners of the state title for the last eight years, is fourth with 29 points.
    The UMS-Wright girls, also riding an eight-year winning streak, leads Briarwood Christian 44-42 heading into Tuesday’s action with Trinity Presbyterian third with 36 and Russellville fourth with 24.
CLASS 7A AT LAGOON PARK: Two-time defending state champion Mountain Brook held a 34-17 lead over Vestavia Hills in the boys’ competition Monday night, and the Lady Spartans was on top of the girls’ competition with 27 points. Fairhope and Spain Park were right behind with 21 and 20 points respectively. McGill-Toolen was third in the boys’ competition with 16 points.
CLASS 6A AT DECATUR: Decatur and Northridge were 1-2 after day one of the Class 6A girls’ tournament action at Point Mallard’s Jimmy Johns Tennis Center with 38 and 36 points, respectively. Florence was third with 31 points and Homewood, fourth with 21. Briarwood Christian, which won the 2015 and 2016 girls’ 6A state titles, is competing in the 4A/5A division in 2017.
    Defending Class 6A boys’ state champion Walker is tied with Muscle Shoals and Northview with 30 points each after the completion of Monday’s play. Florence is four points back at 26 points.
    Individual results can be found on the front page of
www.ahsaa.com in the tennis section of in-season results.

Swimming and Diving Rules Changes Address Risk Minimization, Championship Meet Policy

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 19, 2017) — Among the changes to high school swimming and diving rules for 2017-18 are ones that address risk minimization and requirements for use of the championship meet format.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Swimming and Diving Rules Committee recommended seven rules changes at its March 19-21 meeting in Indianapolis, and all changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Rule 1-3-12 now requires state associations to identify culminating meets, which require use of the championship format. Due to the variations in conference, league and postseason championships within states, the committee believes it is appropriate for the respective state association to determine which meets shall be considered culminating meets.

“The championship meet format features preliminaries and finals rounds, which are thought to provide athletes the best opportunity to excel in their events,” said Sandy Searcy, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Swimming and Diving Rules Committee. “However, the format also prescribes specific rules associated with team and individual entries, dual confirmation, declared false starts and applicable penalties for violation of these rules.

“The committee agreed that state associations are in the best position to determine which competitions must adhere to the championship meet format. The language also allows non-championship meets to be conducted using the championship meet format.”

An addition to Rule 8-3-5c specifies where a second, third and fourth swimmer’s feet must be when a relay exchange occurs. One foot must be in contact with the surface of the starting platform in front of the starting block wedge during takeoff to minimize risk during relay exchanges.

Rule 3-6 was reorganized to provide clarity regarding the potential conduct issues within a meet. As a result, the committee believes these issues are now easier to compare and categorize for appropriate action and/or penalty. Rule 4-1-8 was also affected by this rule change and now includes language regarding appropriate conduct for meet officials.

Other rules changes include:

·         Rule 9-5-2, which addresses the approach and hurdle requirements in diving. This clarifies the intent for hops, leaps and/or jumps to count toward the three-step forward approach requirement.

·         Rule 3-3-2a, which provides consistency for all NFHS sports regarding what school and competitor information is permitted on the uniform which, in swimming and diving, consists of the suit and swim cap.

·         Rule 4-6-4, which requires dual confirmation for relay exchanges during championship meets. The referee and the starter may serve as the relay takeoff judges.

·         Rule 3-4, which provides competitors more flexibility when competing in 500-yard events to count either up or down with visual lap counters. This practice permits flexibility for the competitor, and is in keeping with current trends in the sport.

“The Swimming and Diving Rules Committee was intentional in deliberation of this year’s rules proposals,” Searcy said. “Its main focus this year was to minimize risk but also clarify existing rules.”

Swimming and diving ranks ninth in popularity among girls with 166,747 participants and 10th among boys with 133,470 participants, according to the 2015-16 NFHS Athletics Participation Survey.

Emanuel “Tubb” Bell IV will be the Recipient of the Frank "Pig" House Award

BIRMINGHAM – The Board of Directors of the State of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to announce that Emanuel “Tubb” Bell IV will be the recipient of the Frank “Pig” House Award at the 49th Annual State of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on Saturday, May 13, 2017.  

The Frank "Pig" House Award is given to someone that the Hall of Fame considers has performed outstanding service to sports in Alabama and the Board of Directors feels is worthy of special recognition.  The award is named after the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame’s First Chairman of the Board who was instrumental in the founding of the Hall of Fame.

A native of Birmingham, “Tubb” as he is affectionately known graduated from Wenonah High School in 1973 and earned a football scholarship to Lane College in Jackson, TN.  Bell has been the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Wenonah High School for the past 20 years.  His overall record is 485-178.  His girls’ basketball team has made it to the Girls State Final Four eight times and has won the state championship five times.  They have won the state championship in Class 5A the past four consecutive years.  During his 20-year career at Wenonah he has been honored as the Birmingham City School Coach of Year, Birmingham Tip-Off Club Coach of the Year and the Alabama Sportswriters Coach of Year.

He formed a professional Women’s basketball team called the Birmingham Power.  He also formed the Alabama Roadrunners AAU Girls Basketball program in 1995.  It was a Nike Grassroots program for 10 years.  He has coached three McDonalds All-Americans.  Several of his former players either played or are now playing in the WNBA.

Former recipients of the Frank “Pig” House Award include Sammy Dunn (2004), Dr. Avalee Willoughby (2007) and Buddy Anderson (2014).

For ticket information to the May13th Induction Banquet at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, call the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame at 205-323-6665. 

Central Board Votes to Adjust Start Date

               MONTGOMERY, AL – The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Central Board of Control approved Wednesday to move the start date for the 50%  Rule at its Spring Meeting Wednesday at the AHSAA Office.
             The 50% Rule currently goes into effect on the first day allowed for Fall Sports practice. The Central Board voted to change the date to the first Fall Sports contest date allowed (excluding football’s zero week). For the 2017-18 school year, that date will be Thursday, Aug. 24.
             “This change brings the 50% Rule more in line with the AHSAA Outside Participation Rule,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. “It will provide the opportunity for student-athletes, especially in smaller towns, to participate in more recreation events during August.”
             The action was taken at the Spring Meeting of the Central Board of Control. The Legislative Council also met Wednesday. The 32-member council voted on 15 legislative proposals, but none received the required minimum two-thirds (22) votes to be ratified.
            Savarese also announced the 2016 Football Playoffs took in more than $2 million for the second year in a row and for just the third time in AHSAA history.
          “We also had great financial reports from the winter sports, and if we can have a strong finish with our spring championships, we hope we can reach our goal of distributing for the first time $2 million back to our member schools through revenue sharing this school year,” Savarese said. “Member schools have already received approximately $1.4 million in stipends from the football revenue for the 2016 season,” he said. The AHSAA has paid out approximately $10 million in revenue sharing to its member schools over the last seven years.
          The Central Board also elected current vice president John Hardin, principal at Hackleburg High School, as president for the 2017-18 school year and Keith Bender, Oneonta Schools, as the new vice president. Both will take office at the July meeting.  Spring Garden principal Mike Welsh has served as president the last two years.
               Other Central Board action included:    
                -- Approved the 2016 Football Playoff Audit, the 2017 Bowling, Wrestling, Indoor Track, Regional and State Basketball Financial Reports.
                -- Approved expenses for the AHSAA’s new Video Wall.
            -- Heard a report on the Medical Advisory Committee winter meeting and approved permitting the new 2017-18 required Concussion and Permission forms to be made available on-line May 22.
           -- Approved expenses for the National Federation Summer Meeting scheduled for June at Providence, Rhode Island.
                -- Approved the AHSAA 2017-18 Calendar of Events and Sports Calendar, the AHSAA 5-year Calendar, and dates for Central Board regular meetings for the 2017-18 school year.
           -- Heard a presentation by Baker High School concerning transfers enrolled in the AP Capstone Program and denied the request.
          -- Heard a report from AHSADCA Director Alvin Briggs concerning the Summer Conference and All-Star Sports Week.