Underclassmen Ballou, Keiler top honorees
by Chris Goltermann
William Ballou and Jasmine Keiler are only getting started when it comes to their respective varsity tennis careers. But they've already made quite an impact on respective boys and girls programs at Newnan and East Coweta.
In a season that saw all six local teams qualify for the GHSA State Playoffs, the sport was as strong as any this spring. And it only expects to improve into 2015.
It's also another reason why the list of players on thi s year's Newnan Times-Herald GHSA All-Cou n ty Tennis Teams is long, with Ballou - Newnan's No. 1 singles player - and Keiler - the top singles player for the Lady Indians - leading the way.
The teams were selected by the county's three GHSA head coaches - East Coweta's Scott Smith, Northgate's Justin Crews and Newnan's Hap Hines.
Ballou, who was joined by seniors Landon Goolsby and Mikey Miller, battled East Coweta's boys for the top spot in Region 3-AAAAAA this year, earning first place in the regular season and then placing second to the Indians in the postseason tournament.
'We're looking to even more good things from him next year,' said Newnan head coach Hap Hines of Ballou, a junior, following a first-round Class AAAAAA tournament loss to Lowndes. 'He's got a chance to be one of the best we've had before it's all said and done.'
From his No. 1 singles spot, Ballou took on the top players from opposing teams, creating quite the rivalry with East Coweta counterpart and fellow All-County selection Matt Byers, who won two of three head-to-head matches including a final third-set tiebreaker in the 3-AAAAAA championship.
Ballou also was forced to battle Westlake star Chris Eubanks, the No. 2 ranked varsity player in the state and a Georgia Tech signee. But his wins included a 6-4, 6-1 decision over Northgate's Larry Sloan, who was also among six All-County singles players with Byers, Miller, Goolsby, Viking Cole Chenowith and Indians senior Mitchell Corley.
East Coweta's boys, which received stellar play in doubles, monopolized All-County First Team Selections.
Juniors Andy and Oliver Truong, who went 28-8 on the season, were joined by teammates Jun Kwon and Nick Smith on the All-County team. Kwon and Smith finished with an 11-1 record on an Indians team that captured this year's 3-AAAAAA boys championship.
Keiler, meanwhile, made an impressive debut in her first year with the Lady Indians while playing between the No. 1 and No. 2 singles positions.
The transfer from Connecticut was a welcomed addition to the program while finishing with a record of 15-5-1 during the season.
Keiler won the Lady Indians' only match in this year's Region 3-AAAAAA semifinal loss over Newnan All-County junior Carly Griffies before helping East Coweta's girls place third. She added a victory against Douglas County in the final match of the region tournament.
Along with Keiler and Griffies, the All-County First Team among singles also includes Newnan seniors Gray Griffies and Caroline Davis, Lady Indian Priscilla Truong and Northgate sophomore standout Danielle Rankin.
The All-County First Team among doubles included a duo from both Northgate and Newnan. The Lady Vikings qualified for the Class AAAAA state playoffs in Region 4-AAAAA by finishing fourth out in one of its most competitive divisions. Northgate's freshman pairing of Sarah Edmonds and Sarah Guilot went 2-1 in the 4-AAAAA tournament en route to All-County honors.
They were joined among the All-County girls doubles honorees by Newnan's pairing of freshman Olivia Dumas and junior Lollie Davis.