On May 1, Mikaila Coleman served up her second state win at the MHSAA 5A individual tennis championships in Oxford.
A seasoned player, the Center Hill High School junior first picked up a racket 10 years ago with encouragement from her parents.
“I was getting a little chubby and my parents told me I had to pick a sport, so I wanted to choose something that was different, and I didn’t think many people were in, but it turns out there is plenty of people,” Coleman said. “I played for a minute and I liked it.”
Winning her second state title was unexpected, and Coleman recalled that she was ecstatic to have her coach and family cheering her on as her name was announced as the state’s 5A girls singles winner.
“Like the first time I was surprised, but this time I was even more surprised because it was two times,” she said. “My favorite was the second, because for one my coach was there and she was proud because it was two times, and my parents were there and my dad was there for the first time because he’s been sick lately.”
Coleman also realizes that she will have to bring her A game next year.
“Being a two-time champion makes people come at you harder, so I have to work harder than I have to become a three-time state champion and break a record for the school,” she said.
Coach Gayla Arvin said Coleman played well all season.
“She won for the second year in a row the county tournament in girls singles and was the 5A District 1 girls singles district champion,” Arvin said. “Overall, she was undefeated the entire season.”
Arvin added that Coleman’s teammates also brought home some wins.
“We’ve had a great season,” Arvin said. “Our team was 5A District 1 runner-up and advanced to the team state playoffs. We had seasoned players as well as new players to the game on varsity this year. Our seasoned players provided great leadership and wins for the team. Our new players continually developed and improved their skills and competed well in all of our matches.”
A changeup this year proved fruitful for Michael Floyd.
“Michael switched from the doubles court to singles this year,” Arvin said. “He made a huge impact for his first year playing singles. He was the 5A District 1 Boys Singles District Champion. He advanced to the 2019 5A boys singles Mississippi state championship where he advanced to the semi-final round. He also won the county tournament in boys singles and was undefeated during the regular season.”
Two seniors also did well.
“Jadarius Wilson-Harmon and Andrew Clifton were the 5A District 1 boys doubles district runners-up and advanced to the 2019 5A boys doubles Mississippi state championships,” Arvin said.
Tennis was successful in a different way for new player Hope Mealer.
“I participated in tennis because it helps with footwork in basketball, and also because I wanted to play a spring sport,” said Mealer, who played doubles with Tayler Turner and mixed doubles with Austin Bland. “I loved it.”
Editor’s Note: Nada Herzallah is a staff writer for The Pony Express student newspaper at Center Hill High School. The article is printed with permission.