Owen Earnest finishes Singles State Runner-Up in back-and-forth title match

Published 2:42 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Grace Christian Academy tennis junior Owen Earnest finished Singles State Runner-Up with a loss to Augusta Prep’s Alex Kassatly in the GIAA-2A Tennis State Title match.

He fell in a back-and-forth, 2-6 6-4 match. Cougars head coach Jeremy Ryan said Earnest “left it all on the court.”

“He played hard to the last point,” Ryan said. “I couldn’t be more proud of him, sometimes it just doesn’t go your way.”

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The match was a war of attrition. Kassatly played a patient, methodical game. He was consistent in his return shots and earned his points by forcing mistakes out of Earnest. 

“He makes you work for it,” Earnest said

Despite the unfavorable end, Earnest has been dominant all season. The state runner-up only lost one game during the regular season, stayed perfect in region play and didn’t drop a set against playoff opponents until the final game.

Earnest was not only successful in tennis, but in basketball as well. The Cougar point guard helped lead the team and recorded a career 27-point night. Cougars head coach Travis Harrison said Earnest’s mindset makes him the athlete that he is.

“It’s that fearlessness,” Harrison said. “That’s the difference.”

Earnest said the runner-up ending will fuel him going into next season, his senior season, where he hopes to close his varsity tennis career with a State Championship win.

Five other Cougars competed in the State Tournament. 

Doubles team Dawson Worsley and Maddox Reynolds finished in the semi-finals of the bracket. Ryan said the pair exceeded past expectations and that he couldn’t be more proud of them.

Banks Tuten finished in the quarter-finals of the singles bracket. 

Doubles team Evan Sigman and Tanner Singleton fell in the first round of the tournament.

“I’m proud of the whole team,” Ryan said.