By Thomas Sellers Jr.
MEMPHIS — With the 2013 graduations of Munford Lady Cougar Tennis winningest duo Madison Willis and Taylor Patterson, some experts didn’t expect a return of the maroon and black to the Region 7-3A Tournament in 2014. But the Lady Cougar duo of Maelin Harris and Abigail Bell were the last two standing from the District 13-3A Tournament. Both arrived to the Wolbrecht Tennis Center in Memphis to participate in Regionals. Harris advanced to the Region title game beating Jordan Altrock of Bartlett 6-1, 6-4. But the day was shorter for Bell going down 6-2, 6-2 to Arlington’s Megan Wander.
Wander who endured the Patterson era, lost in the Regional championship last year to Patterson.
“Last year I did all slices,” Wander recalled. “She killed me her top and forehand. So I practiced all summer for that. That helped me win today.”
The win Wander was referring to came in the title game against Harris, 6-3, 6-3. Wander earned a spot in this week’s Class 3A Girls Individual State Tournament in Murfreesboro.
“I’m really excited because last year I made it to Regional finals and I wanted to advance past here,” Wander said.
Wander, a junior, said she will take the lessons from playing tough competition over the years like Patterson and Harris with her to State.
“Consistency and keep my head on straight,” she noted, “I can’t let outside factors distract me.”
Although Harris’ season and Lady Cougar career came to an end May 12, Munford Head Coach Barry Bargery said he appreciated her dedication and patience.
“She was my No. 3 last year and a solid three,” he said. “It was tough for her last year because Hardin County had their No. 3 girl. But she continued to work hard. She knows how to scope a point. She’s knows where to hit the ball. She knows how to construct a point.”
Bargery said Harris’ game matured into one of the best in Region 7-3A over her career.
“As a freshman you had to learn how to play,” he said. “She took lessons every years and got better.
“She kept our reputation strong,” Bargery concluded. “People can see we’re still out there. They saw her today and they know it.”