Locals thrive in Montgomery

Published 2:23 pm Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Valley’s biggest sports news of the week did not transpire locally. Instead, it happened 75 miles west in Montgomery.

On Tuesday, that’s where three local high school seniors shined.

Springwood School tennis players Ananth Reddy and Wyatt Albertson won individual state singles titles — and a joint state doubles title — at the Alabama Independent School Association State Tennis Tournament.

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Neither athlete had won a prior state championship.

Lanett basketball player Anquaevious Pollard, on the other hand, was more familiar with his recent achievement. He was named the Class 2A Player of the Year for a second consecutive season at the Alabama Sports Writers Association Player of the Banquet presented by ALFA Insurance.

He prevailed over two other worthy finalists, including Panthers teammate Emanuel Littles. The Lanett duo led its team to a third straight state championship in March.

The collective success of Reddy, Albertson, Pollard and Littles made Tuesday a significant one for local sports. It underscored the area’s athletic strength.

Even on the state stage, athletes from the Valley rank among the best in their disciplines. That reflects upon their dedication, perseverance and work ethic. All are traits stitched into the fabric of our communities.

Although they started playing varsity tennis in middle school, Reddy and Albertson did not reach their peak until the final semester of their senior year. Along the way, each overcame adversity in the form of past shortcomings.

Both lost in previous state finals. But they didn’t allow those heartbreaking defeats to derail their dreams. Rather, they recharged, refocused and made another run at state. Their determination paid off.

Pollard didn’t experience too many defeats on the basketball court. Nonetheless, he wouldn’t have accomplished what he has without doggedness and drive. They have helped build him into of the most decorated athletes in local history.

His legacy will live on.