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Marion High School

Marion girls’ tennis falls in Lower State finals

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Marion—Football and volleyball get most of the headlines during the fall, but the Marion girls’ tennis team put together one of the school’s better seasons in 2017. The Swamp Foxes went 13-2 overall and 6-1 in conference play, earning the region championship.

“They played as well as I had hoped and they performed even better than I expected. They wanted to win the region and they won that, and their performance all year was phenomenal. Most of the matches they won were one-sided,” head coach Imdad Sabri said.

Marion entered the playoffs as a No. 1 seed and defeated Phillip Simmons and Woodland in the first two rounds before falling to Academic Magnet in the Lower State finals. It was the second straight year the Swamp Foxes were eliminated by the Raptors.

“We were more competitive. Last year it seemed like they were nervous, but this year they did very good,” Sabri said. “We are not losing any players so our goal is to get back to Lower State and have an even better performance next year.”

With no seniors on the roster, the future looks extremely bright. Sophomore Julian Inabinet is the top singles player and has a ton of potential.

“She’s a very hard-working girl. She’s still got two years to play and it’s a big achievement to already be No. 1. She has been selected for the state singles tournament in Columbia next week and she practices two or three hours a day. By the time she finishes high school, she will be a dominating player. Her goal is to play at the college level so we’ll see how far she can go,” Sabri said.

Junior Andi Querubin was at the No. 2 singles position and was undefeated for the season until the final match.

“She is a very good athlete and she’s active around the ball. Her footwork is wonderful and she does not get tired. Her energy level is so high and she’s quick on the court. She can play a variety of shots,” Sabri said.

Emily Graham, Jasmine Wiggins and Leslie Woodberry – all juniors – were the next three players in the lineup, with Woodberry losing only one match all year.

Junior Morgan Wilson and sophomore Reagan Atkinson combined to form the No. 2 doubles team, and Sabri expects both of them to compete for a starting singles spot next season.

Other players on the team this year included seventh-grader Hannah Coleman, freshmen Genesis Coulder and JaKala Finklea, sophomore Abby Atkinson and junior Jewel Grazewski.

In other news, the Marion boys’ cross-country team placed 21st at the state qualifying meet at Sandhills Research Center in Columbia.

Sophomore Natoris Britt was the top finisher for the Swamp Foxes, clocking in at 20:57. Seniors Bryson Porter (21:13), Brooks Skipper (21:21) and Michael Tiesing (21:46) came in next, with freshman Darius Britt (21:52) rounding out the top five. Grayson Hartson, a seventh-grader, also participated.

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