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Collierville tennis sweeps state championships

The team captured their first tennis title in school history.

COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — Collierville tennis brought home their first state championship at this year’s TSSAA Spring Fling.

Not only did they win as a team, the Dragons broke out the broomsticks by also sweeping the individual single and doubles championship.

They breezed through their opposition on the way to this year’s state title. They dropped only one match the whole season to Ravenwood in the final.

“It was amazing. I’ve never felt more bonded with my teammates ever. Overall it was just great energy,” said junior Ajay Arul.

The Dragons came up one match short last year. Junior Tristian Kelly lost his team match last year but came up big with a 6-3, 6-2 in 2022.  He said the sting of defeat can’t compare to the thrill of victory.

“I blew it for them last time and it was so close last time. I want to make it seem not close this time. I want to say I got a lot better in the last year,” Kelly said.

Collierville swept the state championships with wins as a team and individual singles and doubles champions. Ranjay Arul dropped the school's only match this year to Ravenwood's Patrick Delves. He got a rematch in the singles championship and didn't let his teammates down a second time, winning 6-4, 6-1. 

“Coming into the individuals, I was thinking about it. It definitely helped me stay focused. I had something to play for at least. Obviously for the tournament but even more for that win," Ranjay said.

Kelly and Ajay Arul handled the doubles championship. The juniors have been partners for back-to-back years and teammates for three. They leaned on tournament experience to beat Hume-Hogg's twin freshmen, Oliver and Samuel Craddock. 

“Being tight and close is really helpful. I played with him last year and he’s always been a really supportive teammate to me. When I get upset and frustrated, he's there to pick me up and say, "It's OK, we're still in this,'" Kelly said.

Kelly and Ajay have sibling-like chemistry on the court. Actual brothers Ajay and Ranjay Arul say there’s something special about bringing trophies back to the same home.

“Getting to play with him all year it’s really fun. Almost every match he plays right next to me. There’s a lot of talking going on, there’s a lot of teamwork. It’s a lot of fun playing with him,” Ranjay said.

With much of their talent coming back, the Dragons are primed to run it back for another tournament run.

“Of course, we’re running it back. The competition’s only getting worse and we’re only getting better,” Ajay said.

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