Vaughn and McNeer won the Class A State No. 1 Boys Tennis Tournament, coming out victorious in both of their matches on the day.
“Tyler and Mitchell haven’t stopped improving since the beginning of the season,” Bayou Academy head tennis coach Milena Araujo said. “Today, they showed that it takes more than good technique to win a match. They played smart and never gave up. Matching wits with finesse, they played every point with all of their heart.”
Vaughn and McNeer opened their play in the state tournament against Wilkinson County Christian Academy’s Tyler Skinner and Cody Russell. Vaughn and McNeer turned up the heat on Skinner and Russell by winning in straight sets 6-0, 6-3.
The win against Skinner and Russell put Vaughn and McNeer in the championship match against Sharkey Issaquena’s Tucker Clinkscales and Victor Villarreal. The two teams were familiar with each other as they battled for the North A State Title with Vaughn and McNeer winning that match in two sets. With the state title on the line, the match between the two teams turned out to be a tennis fan’s dream.
Mitchell and McNeer won the first set 6-2, but Villarreal and Clinkscales came on strong in the second set by winning 6-3 to force a third and final set. The two teams battled each other hard in the deciding set. When the third set came to a close, Vaughn and McNeer won 6-3 to secure the state title.
“Even after losing the second set, they kept their heads up and continued persevering until they won,” Araujo said. “Since the beginning of the season, I believed Tyler and Mitchell had a great chance to win state, and I am not surprised they are 1A State Champions even though they had a tough match in the final.”
Another one of Bayou’s tennis players that put up a strong showing at state was sophomore Tres Heinsz. Heinsz battled Chamberlain-Hunt Academy’s Ryan Goodwin in the first round of the Class A No. 2 boys singles tennis tournament. The two players battled in a thrilling, three-set match with Goodwin coming out on top 6-4, 1-6 and 6-4. Goodwin ended up winning the state title in No. 2 boys singles action.
“Tres is definitely our rookie of the year,” Araujo said. “This was his first season playing tennis, and he has done a tremendous job. Even though Tres lost against a more experience player, he wasn’t intimidated. I am looking forward to coaching him next season.”