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Signal Mountain's Sarah Kate Bailey returns the ball. Bailey and teammate Grace Williams won the state title over L&N STEM's Abbey Lee and Arnani Hall. The finals of the TSSAA Spring Fling tennis tournament was held at the Adams Tennis Complex in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on May 25, 2018.
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From left, Signal Mountain's Grace Williams and Sarah Kate Bailey celebrate a point in their championship match against L&N STEM's Abbey Lee and Armani Hall. The Signal Mountain partners won the finals of the TSSAA Spring Fling tennis tournament at the Adams Tennis Complex in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on May 25, 2018.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — A long week came to a solid conclusion for the Signal Mountain tennis team Friday.

The Eagles and Lady Eagles walked away from the Adams Tennis Center with a total of three championships, including a pair of Division I Small Class individual crowns. Signal senior Sarah Kate Bailey and eighth-grader Grace Williams won in three-set fashion in the girls' doubles final, as did Williams' brother Gabe in the boys' singles draw.

The girls had won the classification's team title Wednesday.

In boys' doubles, the Eagles' Thomas Thelen and Grant Williams fell to Trinity Christian's Ben Sidwell and Cam Presley in straight sets.

Bailey and Grace Williams became the first area Division I girls to win a doubles state title since Chattanooga Christian sisters Ellie and Hannah Henry in 2012 — and the first public-school duo since the second of two for Arts & Sciences sisters Kayla and Ahmee Kelly in 2010 — but they had to work for it after dropping the first set 1-6. Bailey admitted that the two "thought it was over," but they made some adjustments to get back into the match.

"We really needed to pump ourselves up in order to bring ourselves back to win," Bailey said. "We had to change the way we played and come up with some new strategies."

Changing the order of who received the opposing team's serve helped do the trick.

Asked what was next, Williams had a simple answer: "I just can't wait to sleep in my own bed."

Gabe Williams became the first area champion in the state's smallest public-school classification to claim a singles title since Notre Dame's John Dorris in 2010. He also was the first area player from a public high school to win state in more than 20 years, dating back to Bradley Central's Eddie Coates in 1996.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenleytfp.

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