The three Cobb County tennis teams playing for state championships Saturday at the Rome Tennis Center can control their destiny.
What they cannot control, however, is the weather.
Defending Class A private-school girls champion Walker will face a rematch with Brookstone, while the Kell girls will have another shot at Chamblee for the Class AAAAAA title after coming up short last year. Meanwhile, the North Cobb boys will facie Brookwood to decide the Class AAAAAAA championship.
However, they are also aware that the forecast is calling for rain and potential thunderstorms throughout the day.
The Georgia High School Association said on its website that it hopes to play as scheduled, with the girls matches set to begin at 9:30 a.m. and the boys at 1:30 p.m. However, with 52 courts at the spacious complex near Berry College, the GHSA said it would consider playing all matches at one, needing two to three hours of playable conditions to get all the matches in.
Should the matches be postponed, they will be rescheduled for early next week, hosted by the higher seeds or, if they are like seed, hosted by the "bottom" team on the bracket.
That would put Kell at home, with Walker and North Cobb going on the road.
“We met (Friday afternoon) to talk about (the weather) and how we needed to stay in the match, no matter what,” Walker coach Andrea Barnett said. “Most of these girls are experienced and have played through delays, and we will have that experience tomorrow.”
To ensure a better chance at beating the threat of weather, the Walker and Kell will need to escape the marathon matches they played through in last year's state final. Both teams needed more than four hours to complete their respective matches.
For the second straight year, Walker and Kell will be matching up against the same opponents.
Rilee White clinched the championship for Walker, winning 7-6 (3), 1-6, 7-6 (2) over Brookstone’s Gracie Hemmings on a net-cord call that went in her favor. Soon after, Kell lost a heartbreaker that came down to No. 2 singles, where Emily Dearing came up on the short end of a 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 marathon to Chamblee’s Grace Pietkiewicz.
White is set to face Hemmings once again at No. 1 singles, as will Dearing against Pietkiewicz at No. 2.
“She is more determined to win now,” Kell coach Ryan Hill said of Dearing.
While Walker will have five starters back from last year -- including White and Linden Patterson at singles -- Barnett said Brookstone did not graduate anyone.
Both Kell and Chamblee will have the bulk of last year’s players back on the court, but the Lady Longhorns are determined to win after falling in last year’s finalm as well as the 2017 semifinals. Kell also lost to Columbus for the 2016 crown.
The North Cobb boys are having a rematch as well, having been swept by Brookwood when they last advanced the championship in 2013. This year’s Warriors fought their way to 3-2 wins over Walton, Milton and Wheeler to advance to the championship.
Blake Howell came from a set down to win the deciding point against Walton at No. 3 singles, while Blake Williams did the same against Milton at No. 2. Against Wheeler, the No. 2 doubles team of Lorenzo Alarcon and Ryan Tuchmann won the deciding point by clinching the third-set tiebreaker 7-5 after trailing 5-2.
North Cobb could have its hands full with Brookwood.
“They will be a tough team,” North Cobb coach Nishmin Porbandarwala said. “We’re hoping that three lines can come through for us.”
Brookwood knocked off defending state champion South Forsyth in the semifinals after upsetting previously undefeated Lassiter in the quarterfinals.