Returning champions dominate field at GHSA tennis final

Nine of 16 teams will be back to defend their state tennis championships on Saturday when all eight classifications hold their title matches at the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College.

The girls in all classifications will begin play at 9 a.m., with the boys playing at 1 p.m.

Boys teams looking to repeat are Johns Creek (6A), Marist (4A), Westminster (3A) and Lovett (2A). Girls teams trying to go back to back are Walton (7A), Marist (4A), Westminster (3A), Pace Academy (2A) and Telfair County (Class A Public).

Nine schools are being represented by both the boys and girls teams in the championship: Alpharetta, Walton, Northview, Marist, Westminster, Lovett, Pace Academy, Telfair County and Wesleyan.

The longest championship streak on the boys side belongs to Johns Creek, which has claimed three straight titles. On the girls side, Cambridge and Marist have each won two in a row.

The big-school dynasty belongs to Walton, which has won seven of the last eight in the state’s highest classification. The Raiders have won 21 state championships and return AJC Player of the Year Hayden Mulberry.

“I really pushed this year that we should re-establish our legacy and rattle off a couple in a row,” Walton coach Anthony Fotti said. “Last year we were trying to prove ourselves and this year we’re taking everyone’s best shot.”

The only team to beat Walton this year is Westminster, which has an undefeated record. The Wildcats, led by Ann Guerry at No. 1 singles, have won 21 state titles and three of the last four championships.

“We’ve got some really strong players on the team and now it’s really starting to come together,” Westminster coach Liesel Good said.

The Westminster boys, led by No. 1 singles player Charlie Burdell, are looking for their 23rd title.

In Class AA, rivals Pace Academy and Lovett will determine the championship for boys and girls. The Lovett boys won the title last year, but Pace beat the Lions for the Region 6 title. The Pace Academy girls won state last year and beat Lovett in the region championship match.

Seven schools are trying to win their first state championship. In boys competition, Cambridge in Class 6A and Wesleyan in Class A Private are in the finals, but have never won a state title. In girls competition, Alpharetta (7A), North Atlanta (6A), Centennial (6A), LaGrange (4A) and George Walton Academy (A Private) are all trying to break through.

The girls championship matches are: Alpharetta vs. Walton in Class 7A, Cambridge vs. Johns Creek in 6A, Northview vs. St. Pius in 5A, Columbus vs. Marist in 4A, Westminster vs. Brantley County in 3A, Lovett vs. Pace Academy in 2A, Telfair County vs. Lake Oconee Academy in Class A Public, and Wesleyan vs. Holy Innocents’ in Class A Private.

The boys championship matches are: Alpharetta vs. Walton in Class 7A, North Atlanta vs. Centennial in 6A, Northview vs. Chamblee in 5A, LaGrange vs. Marist in 4A, Westminster vs. Oconee County in 3A, Lovett vs. Pace Academy in 2A, Telfair County vs. Trion in Class A Public and Wesleyan vs. George Walton Academy in Class A Private.

Tickets are $8 and must be purchased at There are no cash sales at the gate.