An old bet could mean a new hairdo for a former Green Wave coach.
Marquel Collins-Gray was the head coach for the Summerville High School tennis program up until this school year when he turned the reigns over to David Long. Naturally he continues to root for the athletes he developed bonds with over the years and even comes out to matches every now and then to show his support. He is particularly interested in how the Green Wave boys fare during the 2014 playoffs because he has a standing bet with the seniors on the team; if they lead Summerville to a state championship, he has to grow an Afro.
The seniors took the first step toward winning that bet Tuesday when they led the Green Wave to a 5-0 victory over Lugoff-Elgin in the opening round of the Class AAAA tennis playoffs. The Green Wave (12-7) advanced to face West Florence Thursday after press time.
If Summerville won the second-round match, it will travel to either South Aiken or Bluffton Monday needing only three wins to claim a state championship.
“We are trying to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since a 2010 loss to eventual Lower State champion Lexington,” Long said. “We have been playing well as of late and hope the very competitive regular season schedule has prepared us for the level of competition we will see in the playoffs. This team has worked very hard all year and bought into what we have tried to teach them in practice. We have four seniors with a combined 21 years of high school experience along with a pair year-round tournament players and a relative newcomer that have come together as a team with a common goal.”
It has been a strong season for the Green Wave team, which has been led by Adam Elliget (16-1 in singles play), Walker Long (16-3) and Brandon Sekula (15-4).
“I am fortunate to be in this situation coaching these kids,” Long said. “Marquel Collins-Gray brought most of these kids to where they are now and this year I have a great assistant coach in Jimmy Elliget who has been a big asset in developing the talent we have. This is the fun part of the season, win or go home, you got to love that. If you don’t embrace the higher stakes then your season will likely end quickly.”
Summerville 5 Lugoff-Elgin 0
Adam Elliget d. Hunter Horton 6-2 6-0, Adam Seith d. Hunter Johnson 6-2 6-4, Walker Long d. Nathan Tyson 6-1 6-0, Brandon Sekula d. Justin Tillman 6-0 7-5, Jack Hazel d. James Carraway 6-0 6-2
Records: Summerville 12-7, Lugoff-Elgin 9-8