Lady Knights join elite group

By: W. Curt Vincent -

DUBLIN — The stellar West Bladen tennis duo of Alanna Ludlum and Amber Long may have packed away their tennis rackets for the winter a couple of months ago, but the accolades from their senior season continue to pour in.

On Wednesday, the senior Lady Knights were named to the 12-member All-Mideast Region team by the North Carolina High School Tennis Coaches Association.

“Usually they select the top four in singles and doubles from each region that advance to state,” said West Bladen coach Jeff Atkinson. “I feel like the mideastern regional is a very tough region — three of the top four teams this season came from the region (School of Science and Math, Jordan Matthews and Bartlett Yancey).”

Ludlum was the lady Knights’ No. 1 singles player and was voted by Four County Conference coaches as the conference player of the year each of the past two seasons. Long was the No. 2 singles player for West Bladen and, together, the tandem formed the Lady Knights’ No. 1 doubles team.

During the 2016 season, Ludlum put together a 17-1 singles mark, while Long was 14-4 overall. In doubles, the duo finished the season with a 17-2 record — and became the first West Bladen girls to earn a berth in the state championships.

They also helped lead the Lady Knights to their first-ever undefeated conference title and a berth in the state championship tournament.

Over the course of their high-school tennis careers, Ludlum and Long established themselves as No. 1 and No. 2, respectfully, in school history for career wins (singles and doubles combined). Ludlum finished with 112 wins and Long was right behind at 105.

“This is a strong team selected (and the) first time ever in boys or girls program at West Bladen that we had any tennis players chosen for the all-region tennis team,” Atkinson said. “I think it is a great honor and accomplishment for both Alanna and Amber to be selected — both of them definetly put the hard work in to get to this level and be selected for this.”

Joining Ludlum and Long on the regional team were: Vinitha Ravindran (North Carolina School of Science and Math), Adithi Rao (North Carolina School of Science and Math), Rachel Rice (Durham School of the Arts), Jocelyn Mitchell (Jordan-Matthews), Sarah Morse (Jordan-Matthews), Marshall Phillips (Jordan-Matthews), Cameron Grace Brown (Bartlett-Yancey), Carrie Anne Brown (Bartlett-Yancey), Chase Ogle (Durham School of the Arts) and Jayce Gaither (Durham School of the Arts).

W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.
Ludlum, Long tabbed All-Mideast Region

W. Curt Vincent