HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS: Wink trio making plans for state tournament - Odessa American: Sports

HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS: Wink trio making plans for state tournament

By Tony Venegas tvenegas@oaoa.com, 432-333-7649 | Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2019 5:06 pm

Jonnah Smith, Sabrina Mercier and TyAnn Slaughter have all grown up together through tennis at Wink High School.

The trio assured themselves that they would get the chance to make more memories as teammates after winning titles on the final day of the Region 1-2A Tournament Thursday at the Ratliff Tennis Center.

Smith defeated Kea Sandoval of Olton, 6-2, 7-6 (2), to win the Girls Singles championship, while Mercier and Slaughter won the Girls Doubles crown, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2,  over Halle Hudson and Katelynn Graves of Miles.

“I am just so happy and excited for all of us,” Smith said. “We’ve all known each other since childhood and it’s great that we’ll all get to take that trip to state together.”

The junior punched her third straight ticket to the UIL Tennis State Championships in College Station after pulling out a win against the top-seeded Sandoval. Prior to the final, Smith defeated Emily Morgan of Boys Ranch, 6-1, 6-1, in the morning semifinal.

After pulling away in the first set, Smith and Sandoval were locked in a back-and-forth battle in the second set as both players kept breaking each other’s serve.

That put a lot of pressure on Smith to stay in it, especially after falling behind three times in the set. Eventually, Smith was able to retake control in the tiebreak and come away with the title.

“It was really all a mental game,” Smith said. “We were fighting each other the whole way and especially after the first set. It was tough the whole way.”

At the same time on an adjacent court, Mercier and Slaughter were locked in a tight contest of their own. The context of what was at stake, however, was a little different. 

Due to one of the semifinalists withdrawing from the tournament, Mercier and Slaughter locked up a state tournament berth with a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Sara Gilbert and Autumn Hale from Boys Ranch earlier in the morning to advance to the final.

Even with that assurance, both players wanted to come out and make a statement to end the tournament.

“We work well together and we’re both really competitive,” Slaughter said. “Even though we knew we we’re going to state after winning that first match, we still wanted to get that gold medal.”

“It didn’t matter if we were going to state or not,” Mercier said. “We wanted to win and get that championship and we left it all out on the court.”

Both matches started at the same time and, coincidentally, ended at nearly the same time. As Smith was walking off the court, she could hear screams of joy from her teammates, who just put away the winning point to capture the championship, which turned into a special moment for the team.

“It was crazy to see that happen,” Wink coach Wendy Ratliff said. “At the same time, I thought it was kind of neat. It just goes along with their friendship and how close they are with each other.

“They’ve been able to accomplish a lot to get to this level and this is very well deserved for all three of them.”

>> TOUGH DAY: Wink’s mixed doubles team of Zack Rosas and Kim Montes finished fourth, losing, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2, to Razyl Yanez and Ty Moorman of Forsan.

Rosas and Montes also dropped their semifinal match, 7-5, 6-1, against Gage Goodman and Abby Terry of Sundown.