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Playing in its first season since 2004, Wallace State’s women’s tennis team finished fourth in the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) ranks in 2017 in addition to winning four of five matches between mid-March and early April.
Under the guidance of coach Tony Franklin and assistant Tim Garner, Wallace State’s women’s tennis team improved all season.
Cullman native Emily Graves served as Wallace State’s No. 1 singles player for the majority of the season and her and freshman Kelsi Wilson earned singles victories at the conference tournament.
Tempie Ennis, Nicki Rakestraw, Emily Wilson and Molly Whitlock each earned important match wins throughout the course of the season.
The doubles teams consisted of: Graves and Kelsi Wilson; Rakestraw and Ennis; and Emily Wilson and Whitlock.
Before the Wallace State tennis programs were discontinued in 2004, they accounted for four of the seven NJCAA national titles earned by Wallace State athletics and won multiple conference championships. The men’s program won NJCAA Division II titles in 1995 and 1996 and the women in 1995 and 1999.
Franklin, 56, has been around the game his entire life. He played tennis at Sulligent High School and played collegiately at the former Brewer State College (now Bevill State) in Fayette and Huntingdon College in Montgomery. He earned his master’s degree at Auburn University – Montgomery.
Before inheriting the Wallace State post, Franklin spent 26 seasons as tennis coach at Benjamin Russell High School in Alexander City, where he coached both the boys’ and girls’ programs throughout his career.
One of Franklin’s favorite aspects about tennis is the life lessons it teaches you throughout the course of a match.
“Tennis is a match full of problem solving. That’s what life is. You go to work every day and have to solve problems,” Franklin said. “I like to instill mental toughness in my players. When things don’t go well in a match, you can’t pout and get mad. You have to think about what your opponent is doing, what you are doing and how you can change things to be successful.”
For more information, contact:
Tony Franklin, Wallace State’s Women’s Tennis Coach
Phone: 256.352.7836 or 256.496.2148