The 23rd annual AHSAA North-South All-Star Sports Week will feature tennis for the first time in the history of the event and Wetumpka will have a representative. Jay Teel, who has qualified for the last two state tournaments, was one of 15 rising seniors selected to compete for Team South in Montgomery on Thursday morning.
âI didn’t really know what it was at first, but I was still excited about it,â Teel said. “We did some research online to find out what it was, so I’m just good to go.”
Teel was the No.6 seed in the No.1 Class 6A Singles tournament this season, improving six places after being the 12th seed in his sophomore year. Teel was beaten in the first round of the tournament in both seasons, but he believes this week’s events can help him overcome the senior bump of the year.
âI think it will be encouraging to have so much talent around,â Teel said. “It will show me that there are better players and maybe I can learn things that will make me better.”
Although playing tennis is the top priority for the week, Teel said he looks forward to spending time with players from other teams. The teams report to AUM on Wednesday before spending the night on campus and playing Thursday morning at the Montgomery Country Club.
“I really want to go there and meet other players,” Teel said. “I don’t know any of the other guys there so I’m just hoping to make some new friends and play tennis.”
All-Star Week typically provides one of the biggest stages for athletes to compete on in the state and while it’s not clear how this will affect tennis, the AHSAA is hoping for a successful event. Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association principal Jamie Lee said he was thrilled to have the chance to show off the state’s talent in tennis.
Teel said he doesn’t feel the scene will have an impact on the way he performs. He said he believed his experience at the state tournament should help him familiarize himself with his game.
âI don’t feel any extra pressure with this,â Teel said. “I just want to do my best and play tennis like I usually do and see what happens.”
The biggest goal of the week for Teel is to find ways to improve himself so that he can help Wetumpka have a more successful season next year. The Indians finished 10-2 as a team last season, but Teel sees even greater potential for him and his teammates in his senior season.
âI think the most important thing is to improve my state of mind,â Teel said. “I want to improve myself so that we can win more next season than ever before.”
Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.