By Andrew Johnson
MUSKEGON – Winning city tennis championships had become a habit for North Muskegon’s Brittany Bailey.
But Bailey recovered her winning ways on Saturday, defeating Whitehall’s Vanessa Heylmun 6-2, 6-3 in the No. 1 singles championship match at the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association City Tennis Tournament at Muskegon Catholic Central.
That makes Bailey a three-time city champion, which is a pretty significant feat.
“It means a lot,” Bailey said. “Being the only person of color out here, it means a lot.
“I got third last year, and I really wanted to get first this year. I really had to work hard for it.”
Both Bailey and Heylmun had to deal with a strong, cold wind on Saturday, and Bailey said it made a difference in her game.
“It was a very tough wind, and it carried a lot of balls,” she said. “My slices were short because of it at times, but overall I feel I played really good.”
North Muskegon Coach Cody Liverance said he couldn’t be more proud of Bailey, and how she goes about her business on the court.
“She’s amazing,” Liverance said. “She’s a joy to coach because you don’t have to do much. She corrects herself and she’s easygoing. She’s on a tear right now, and I think she’s only getting better.”
Bailey was actually a double champion on Saturday, because her North Muskegon squad won its fifth straight tournament team title with 48 points. The Norse edged out second-place Fruitport, which had 42.
Reeths-Puffer finished third with 37 points, followed by Mona Shore (32) and Muskegon Catholic and Western Michigan Christian (13).
Bailey was the lone North Muskegon singles champion, but two Norse doubles teams won their flights, helping the Norse claim the tournament trophy.
North Muskegon’s Belles Hardman and Mary Hoopes won the No. 1 doubles title and Tori Larsen and Lily Montgomery won No. 2 doubles.
Runners-up for North Muskegon were Lauren Golden (No. 3 singles), Abbey Canfield and Claire McCall (No. 3 doubles), Sophia Effken and Carina Steketee (No. 4 doubles).
“We knew we’d probably be the strongest team here if the seeds held, and we did that,” said Liverance, whose team is ranked No. 6 in the state in Division 4. “We knew Fruitport would be tough, but the girls came through and held.
“We set this out as one of our goals before the season, to win city and regionals. It’s huge. It means a lot to be the best team in the Muskegon area. We have a lot of good tennis players and coaches in the area.”
Fruitport won three of four singles flights, with Trinity Busscher winning No. 2, Kaitlyn LaBash winning No. 3 and Haleigh Winskas taking No. 4.
Other doubles champions were Reeths-Puffer’s Jordan Ball and Morgan Scussel (No. 3) and Whitehall’s McKenna Hepler and Braley Johnson (No. 4).
GMAA CITY TENNIS TOURNAMENT
No. 1 singles – Brittany Bailey, North Muskegon
No. 2 singles – Trinity Busscher, Fruitport
No. 3 singles – Kaitlyn LaBash, Fruitport
No. 4 singles – Haleigh Winskas, Fruitport
No. 1 doubles – Belles Hardman- Mary Hoopes, North Muskegon
No. 2 doubles – Tori Larsen-Lily Montgomery, North Muskegon
No. 3 doubles – Jordan Ball-Morgan Scussel, Reeths-Puffer
No. 4 doubles – McKenna Hepler-Braley Johnson, Whitehall
No. 1 singles – Vanessa Heylmun, Whitehall
No. 2 singles – Taylor Mikkelson, Whitehall
No. 3 singles – Lauren Golden, North Muskegon
No. 4 singles – Kayle Cunningham, Mona Shores
No. 1 doubles – Roz Swanson-Madison Turner, Reeths-Puffer
No. 2 doubles – Makayla Lieb-Alyssa Neiser, Mona Shores
No. 3 doubles – Abbey Canfield-Claire McCall, North Muskegon
No. 4 doubles- Sophia Effken-Carina Steketee, North Muskegon