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THURSDAY, APRIL 26, 2007
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Austin High's Meleana McCutcheon returns a shot against Florence High freshman Hannah Creamer in the finals of the Class 6A sectionals at Point Mallard on Wednesday. McCutcheon won 6-1, 6-2.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Austin High's Meleana McCutcheon returns a shot against Florence High freshman Hannah Creamer in the finals of the Class 6A sectionals at Point Mallard on Wednesday. McCutcheon won 6-1, 6-2.

McCutcheon quickly wins delayed finals
8th-grader advances to
state tournament

By Mark Edwards
medwards@decaturdaily.com 340-2461

Austin High tennis ace Meleana McCutcheon had a long wait for her sectional championship match, but her victory didn't take long at all.

The Austin eighth-grader won the No. 1 singles division of the Class 6A, Section 8 championships Wednesday at Point Mallard by beating Florence freshman Hannah Creamer 6-1, 6-2.

With McCutcheon playing a fast pace, the match took a little less than an hour — barely long enough to get much of a sunburn. In the process, she avenged her only loss of the year. Creamer beat McCutcheon in the first match of the year, but McCutcheon has won both meetings since then.

"Every match matters," McCutcheon said, "but I always like to come back and beat players who have beaten me."

Even though Austin's girls team didn't advance out of the sectional championships, McCutcheon's win means she will play in the 6A state tournament Tuesday and Wednesday at Mobile. She advanced last year as well and reached the quarterfinals.

Because of rain Tuesday morning, the finals in all six singles divisions and all three in doubles were postponed from Tuesday to Wednesday afternoon. Then McCutcheon had to wait a few more minutes because the Florence team arrived at Point Mallard a couple of minutes before matches were scheduled to start.

She was so eager during the day to play her match that she had scribbled "Cream Creamer" on the back of her hand in blue ink.

"I would've rather played the match yesterday," McCutcheon said with a laugh.

Once the match started, McCutcheon used her powerful groundstrokes to end points quickly against Creamer, who had used lobs and a slow pace to beat McCutcheon earlier in the season.

Even during the changeovers when players are allowed time to sit down for a minute, rest and get water, McCutcheon went quickly to her place on the other side of the net and waited for Creamer to join her on the court.

"That's the way I play against everybody," McCutcheon said. "I like to play fast. I don't like to sit down, talk and get water.

"I want to play fast and get done quickly," she said before adding with a smile: "Plus, I don't want anymore sunburn than I've already got."

Creamer won the first game, but McCutcheon boosted into gear after that.

At one point when McCutcheon had taken a 5-1 lead in the opening set, the two players rallied a long time before Creamer won the point with a shot down the line. McCutcheon clapped her hand against her racket to indicate that she thought it was a good shot, and Creamer seemed energized by winning the long point, yelling, "C'mon," to herself.

But McCutcheon didn't allow Creamer to turn the match. On the next point, Creamer served, and McCutcheon rocketed her return back past her for a winner, yelling, "Let's go," to herself.

From there, McCutcheon kept control.

"I think she played great," McCutcheon said. "I made some errors, but my shots were on, and I thought I pulled through."

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