Hale, Mansour, Holle Lead LaGrange To Second At State

They gave everything that they had.

Natalie Hale, Emily Mansour and Anita Holle led the LaGrange 40 and over women’s team to runner-up honors last weekend in the Southern Tri-Level State Tennis Championships at the McCluskey Center. There were also matches at LaGrange College.

Hale is just glad the pressure points are over. She and her LaGrange tennis team had their share of those in the three-day tournament on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“We faced a lot of good competition, and we stepped up our game. We had our drop shots and lobs (going),” said Hale.

Mansour was right there with her in spirit and with her tennis racket. Mansour has played in five Tri-Level state tournaments. This time, Mansour won two of three doubles matches.

“We’re competitors, and there is always more fun. We had our chances,” said Mansour.

The LaGrange women weren’t the only tennis locals to take a bite out of the state tennis pie. The LaGrange 55 and over men’s team also finished second in the state.

“We had a record number of players (in the tournament), and we had some good matches,” said La- Grange state runner-up Bill Champion, the head tennis pro at the McCluskey Center.

An overflow crowd of more than 500 players from almost every hamlet and major metropolitan area of Georgia played in the Southern Tri-Level State Championships. That included some highly competitive players from the LaGrange second place men’s team, consisting of Joey Keeth, Mark Smith, Greg Brannen, David Barrett and Jerry Key.

The 55 and over LaGrange men’s team also won some matches with Phillip Jones, Alan Thompson, Gary Kittrell, Mike Speight and Bill Champion.

Sixty-year-old Cheryl Freker of Peachtree City won a state trophy, too. Freker and Barbara Barnard were the Tri-Level state champions in the women’s 40 and over age division. Freker did play with some younger competitors, and she won anyway.

“We were motivated. And we had camaraderie and talent,” said Freker.

Diane Kahn and Jenny McNamara of Savannah were award-winning tennis players on this weekend, too. Kahn and Mc-Namara played in the ladies 40 and over class.

“We were aggressive at the net, and we were constantly moving,” said Kahn.