During the weekend of Aug. 16, the South Fulton USTA Junior Team won the 2013 Southern Sectional tournament in Auburn and qualified for the Junior National Tournament from Oct. 24-27.
“This is the first year going to the state tournament,” coach Sam Kennedy said. “We should’ve been going every time but everybody has to go different ways but this year we decided to come together as a group.”
The 18-and-under team consists of Kennedy’s sons, Zachary and Samuel, Justin and Jason Byrd, Sydney and Monica Thomas, Kelli McKinney and Summer Walker.
“My performance was really good in this tournament,” Westlake junior Monica Thomas said. “I played really good. I surprised myself completely because usually I don’t play that well. Usually the pressure gets to me.”
“It was good to get a win and get the confidence back up because we haven’t playing in a bunch of tournaments,” Westlake senior Samuel Kennedy said.
Not only did the South Fulton team have to defeat the opposition in Auburn but also a traumatic event when Samuel and Zachary were involved in a car accident on the night of August 16.
“The boys were coming back from the hotel and had their car totaled,” Sam Kennedy said. “They could’ve been dead but they were saved. I got my boys. I don’t care anything about the car.
“But due to the fact of that trauma, we still persevered and still won,” Kennedy said. “We were up against a lot of obstacles. We were the only black team there. The kids were very admirable in terms of their sportsmanship and behavior.”
The South Fulton team trains at Sykes Park in East Point.
“To win, it will take dedication and practice, staying together as a team and making sure everybody is doing what they are supposed to do,” Zachary Kennedy said.