Originally created 04/12/06

Lakeside teams enter postseason on a roll



Each spring, Columbia County sees plenty of competitive action from high school baseball and soccer. The other spring sport, high school tennis, doesn't bring much competition at all.

Lakeside wins every year.

"We've never lost region in all our years," Lakeside senior Jordan Walters said. "Everyone expects us to win."

Lakeside (11-0, 7-0 Region 2-AAAA) did just that on Tuesday with a 5-0 win over Evans. The Lady Panthers, also perennial region champs, surrendered only one doubles match to Evans for a 4-1 win.

Both teams already have clinched regular season region titles and will enter next week's Region 2-AAAA Tournament as No. 1 seeds.

The region championship is nothing new to Lakeside.

According to Lakeside girls coach Donnie Burch, the boys team has won 18 consecutive region championships and the girls team has won 15 region titles in 18 years.

"We have the most banners in the gym," Burch said. "I'd like to say it's the coaching, but it's not. We have great feeder programs at West Lake and Petersburg Racquet Club."

Walters, ranked No. 85 in the nation and in the top three in the state, is a product of Petersburg Racquet Club. The senior already has committed to Furman and holds a perfect record this season.

On the girls side, Kay Bartsdale came from West Lake. The 14-year-old freshman has compiled a 10-1 record, and she posted an 8-4 victory in singles play Tuesday.

Dave Gleason, a tennis trainer at West Lake, said Bartsdale is the most recent in a long line of talented athletes to come from the tennis hotbed.

"They're looking at a bright future," Gleason said of the Lakeside squads. "It's great for them that Kay's only in ninth grade and doing so well."

Lakeside will try to extend its streak of region tournament championships on Tuesday, April 18, in the Region 2-AAAA Tournament at Patriots Park.

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 863-6165 or billy.byler@augustachronicle.com.