Improving with each tournament the Waxahachie High School tennis team placed ninth in the R.D. Mertz Memorial at Corsicana on Friday. The event was a nice warm up for the District 15-4A meet that will be held at the same court on April 7.

“We finished ninth overall as a team, out of 16 teams. Of course our goal was to finish higher, but the playing experience our players gained today was invaluable,” coach Perry Nutt said. “Most of them got in four solid matches in one day and, with district coming up in about a month, building that metal and physical stamina is very important.”

Justin Miller claimed the consolation championship in boys “A” singles draw while two mixed doubles teams placed third for Waxahachie.

“Justin got some great singles matches in today. He lost first round to a tough Waco Midway opponent, but didn’t get discouraged.  He beat the next three opponents he faced to win the consolation bracket,” Nutt said.

Miller fell 8-5 in the opening round before topping Midlothian 8-5, Athens 8-5 and Sulphur Springs 8-4 for the consolation title.

Returning to the court for the first time this season, Waxahachie’s Danielle Calhoun teamed up with Austin Hunt in mixed doubles and the duo placed third in the “A” draw.

“It feels great to take third in a very competitive tournament, especially while playing other great teams. Of the top four mixed teams none were in our district so it adds to the level of intensity,” Hunt said.

Shaking off the rust of not playing in a tournament since the fall season, Calhoun was not at the top of her game but it was more than enough to fend off the opposition.

“She didn’t play quite as well as she has in the past, but while she had gone to a track meet the day before and shin splints sitting her out for several weeks prior, she played remarkably well,” Hunt said.

The team opened with an 8-4 win over Groesbeck before topping Belton 6-4, 6-0 in the quarterfinals. Midlothian tripped up the run to the championship by upsetting Waxahachie 6-1, 7-5 but the group bounced back to win the third place game against Denison 1-6, 6-2, 10-7 tiebreak.

“Danielle and Austin had a nice comeback win in the third place match. Even though they lost the first set 1-6, they fought back and pulled it out in the tiebreak for the third set,” Nutt said.

It was the first time this season Hunt and Calhoun teamed up and based on the early results it might not be the last.

“Coach Nutt is always looking at the potential of the team and decided to mix a few things around. We had a few teams rank pretty well in the tournament last Friday aside from us. Calhoun is a great doubles partner. She is always optimistic, she never stops smiling and she knows how to stand up to the pressure of good teams.”

Nutt’s decisions to create new teams continued to pay off Friday as the duo of Savannah Summers and Elliot Frey placed third in the “B” draw.

“This was Savannah and Elliot’s first time to play together in a tournament, but they worked well as a team and took home the third place trophy,” Nutt said.

The duo topped Groesbeck 8-3 in the opening round before topping Rockwall Heath in the quarterfinals 6-3, 6-3. Ennis tripped up the duo in the semifinals 6-4, 6-3 before Corsicana pulled out of the tournament due to an illness allowing the Waxahachie team the third-place trophies.

RoSandra Acosta placed seventh in the girls “B” singles. She opened the tournament with an 8-1 win against Whitehouse before falling to Sibley 6-0, 6-1 and Midlothian 8-3. In her final match of the tournament she bounced back with an 8-5 win against Mesquite Poteet.

Kendall Burks represented Waxahachie in the girls “A” draw and placed 11th. She lost to Poteet 8-2 in the first round before topping Sulphur Springs 8-2 in the consolation quarterfinals. She fell 8-5 to Kilgore in the consolation semifinals before topping Midway in the finale 6-4.

Cody Kendrick placed 14th in the boys “B” draw with an 8-3 win over Whitehouse and losses to Corsicana (8-2), Denison (8-2) and Athens (6-3).

In the girls “B” draw the Waxahachie team of Brittany O’Carroll and Haylie Brown placed 10th with wins over Belton 8-4 and Groesback 8-7 (10) and losses to Corsicana (8-4) and Groesbeck (8-4).

Marissa Rodriguez and Brianne Jarvis teamed up in the girls “A” doubles and placed 11th with a win over Whitehouse and losses to Corsicana and Rockwall Heath.

On the boys side, the double team of Coleman Beddingfield and John Stephenson placed eighth in the “B” draw with an opening round 8-5 win against Kilgore before losing to Ennis, Corsicana and Groesbeck.

Jonathan Cooper and Carl Rodriguez teamed up in the doubles “A” draw and placed 13th with back-to-back losses to open the tournament before picking up wins against Sulphur Springs (8-5) and Athens (8-4).

It will be a two-week layoff for Waxahachie before entering back into tournament action on Friday, March 11 in the March Madness tournament in Ennis. Then there will be a three-week layoff before the final non-district tournament of the season on April 1 in Mansfield at the Legacy Kowbell Classic.