Sanders sets standard of success at Bleckley County

sports@macon.comJune 9, 2014 


Bleckley County’s Brennen Sanders, who went 23-1 this season in leading the Royals to the GHSA Class AA semifinals, is The Telegraph All-Middle Georgia Boys Tennis Player of the Year.


Senior sets standard of success for successful Royals program

There is a degree of weighted pressure that comes with being at the forefront of the boys tennis program at Bleckley County. Year after year, the Royals claim the top spot in their region en route to the semifinal round of the state tournament.

That standard of success was sustained this past season by Brennen Sanders. As Bleckley County’s No. 1 singles player, he led the Royals to a 19-5 overall record as the team produced another sterling season. Bleckley County claimed its 16th region championship in a row as the Royals advanced to the state semifinals for the 14th year in a row, where they lost a heartbreaker to Greater Atlanta Christian in the GHSA Class AA Final Four.

Sanders is The Telegraph All-Middle Georgia Boys Tennis Player of the Year.

“This group didn’t want to be the one that had the streak ended; it really kept them going,” Bleckley County head coach Brad Sanders said.

But for Brennen Sanders and his teammates, it’s hard to be disappointed as they put the season in the rear-view mirror. Sanders, as well as his cousin, A.J. Blankenship, picked up wins against GAC in the semifinal as both capped their high school careers on arguably the state’s largest high school tennis stage.

“To be able to finish that well, it meant a lot. Obviously, you always want to do all that you can to finish with a last win,” Brennen Sanders said. “It was pretty special.”

Sanders finished up the year with a 23-1 individual record and a four-year high school mark of 91-8.

The Royals breezed into the semifinals this year, posting a pair of 3-0 victories in the state tournament.

Sanders’ strong play as the Royals’ No. 1 player played a major role in Bleckley County’s success throughout the season. A victory against the opposition’s No. 1 player enabled the Royals to have more flexibility in setting the lineup for the remainder of each match.

“You have to win those matches. For him to get the win each of those times, that’s crucial,” Brad Sanders said. “It allows you to manipulate your lineup.”

Thanks to Brennen Sanders keeping the Royals’ high level of success going, Bleckley County continued this past season to make an impact on a sport dominated by schools from metro Atlanta. The Royals have the longest boys tennis semifinals appearance streak of any school located outside the Atlanta area.

That has become a point of pride with the Bleckley County program.

“Being able to keep the streak going helps us get our name out,” Brennen Sanders said. “Being able to play as well as he have, more and more people around the state know about us.”

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