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NOTEBOOK: Coaches reunite in tennis rivalry
Lynnesey Holder
Effingham County’s doubles player Lynnesy Holder returns the ball in a March 15 match at South Effingham. Her teammate is Morganf Kieffer. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald

GUYTON — A couple of former Armstrong Atlantic tennis players — South Effingham coach Kristen Finlen and Effingham County first-year coach Zsofi Golopencza-Ellwood — reunited at SEHS on March 15.

“We’re like family so it was fun to go up against each other,” said Finlen, who played with Golopencza-Ellwood during the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

On this day from the sidelines, however, Golopencza-Ellwood probably had a little more fun. Her girls and boys won 4-1 and 5-0, respectively, in the cross-county rivalry.

Riley Metzger, Caroline Morgan and Colleen Cunningham won singles matches and Lynnesy Holder-Morgan Kieffer won a doubles match for the Rebel girls.

For the ECHS boys, Roman Merletti, Jace Hinely and Braden Williams had singles victories and Caleb McElveen-Jameson Schroeder and Conner Dickey-Weston Summers won at doubles.

Amaya Lewis-Maddison Younis claimed the Mustangs’ girls lone win at No. 2 doubles.

The SEHS girls were missing their No. 1 singles player Halee Harper, who was out with a wrist injury. It meant the Mustangs singles players moved up — No. 2 competed at No. 1, No. 3 competed at No. 2 – and the Mustangs forfeited the No. 3 singles point.

“I don’t want to take anything away from Effingham. They have a very good team and would have done well regardless,” said Finlen, who has only one senior in her program.

Finlen expects to have Harper back for the Region 2-AAAAAA tournament. The two-day tournament begins March 29 at Glynn Academy. The top four teams advance to the state tournament.

“It’s going to be a tough tournament, because everyone in the region has a strong team,” Finlen said.


SEHS’ Edwards wins triple jump

South Effingham’s Cameron Edwards placed first in the triple jump at the Bob Hayes Invitational at Raines High School in Jacksonville, Fla., last weekend.

Edwards, Georgia’s defending Class AAAAAA champion in the triple, leaped 14.01 meters (45 feet, 11.6 inches) at the regional meet.

Other top 10 performances turned in by the Mustangs were Cailan Howard’s 4:32.75 (fourth place) in the 1600. It was about a second off the school record. Howard set the 3200 school mark with a 9:44.52 at the Alley Invitational in Richmond Hill on Feb. 25.

In girls action in Jacksonville, Aubrey Edge pole vaulted 2.65 meters (8 feet, 8.3 inches for fourth place) and Riley Browne jumped 1.48 meters (4 feet, 10.3 inches for eighth place).


Mustangs take two of three on the road

South Effingham’s baseball team returns home today to play Bradwell Institute for Game 2 of a three-game set. The series started March 21 in Hinesville with the final game on Friday back in Hinesville.

During the week of March 13-19, the Mustangs (10-4, 1-2 Region 2-AAAAAA) played three non-region games, defeating undefeated Long County 6-1 (March 15), falling at undefeated Carolina Forest of Myrtle Beach, SC, 7-2 (March 17), before nipping North Myrtle Beach 1-0.

SEHS’ Kaleb Johnson and Avery Sikes registered pitching victories. Against North Myrtle Beach, Sikes also had a single to lead off the fifth inning to spark the winning rally. Pinch runner Dalton Redmond scored the lone run on a passed ball.

Sikes scattered six hits in five innings, striking out three and walking none. Maddox Shiell recorded the save. North Myrtle Beach left eight on base over the final three innings.