Tall City Invitational attracts top-level programs

The Midland High and Legacy tennis programs have put together a tournament that brings some of the state’s top high school programs to West Texas.

The Tall City Invitational takes place at 8:30 am Friday and Saturday with mixed doubles and girls doubles matches at Bush Tennis Center, boys and girls singles matches at Midland College and boys doubles matches at Midland High.

The first three rounds of each draw take place on Friday, followed by semifinals and finals on Saturday.

Plenty of state powers will be present, led by Abilene Wylie, the 2021 Class 5A state runner-up.

Three ranked Class 6A schools are in the field with No. 6 Southlake Carroll, No. 9 Allen and No. 21 Coppell according to the latest Texas Tennis Coaches Association poll.

The Class 5A field includes No. 2 Abilene Wylie, No. 8 Amarillo High, No. 12 Lubbock High, No. 19 Lubbock Coronado and No. 25 Lubbock Monterey.

Midland High head coach Tom Heiting says it’s the best high school tennis tournament in West Texas.

“It’s one of the best in state for sure, all the coaches tell me that every year,” Heiting said. “We couldn’t have it last year because of the snow and ice but if you look at the previous year (2020), you still had state champions, finalists, semifinalists coming right out of this tournament.”

The tournament field is so deep that Wall, the only Class 3A team, features junior Payne Smith, the defending state boys singles champion in his classification. Heiting says Smith brings a high velocity serve.

“There’s a couple (tournaments) out there that rank this high, but not a whole lot, so this is kind of a mini-state,” Legacy head coach Raymundo Perez said.

MHS will be led by junior Sarah Stewart and senior Monserrat Salazar in girls singles. Stewart is the No. 2 seed in the tournament.

Another Bulldog pairing to watch are Camden Foreman and Caden Carriger in boys doubles.

The Legacy team to watch is Lizzie Babble and Cassie Bond in girls doubles.

“These are the tournaments that I always loved because you want to see where the mark is,” Perez said. “You want to see how much more you have to improve. Right now between the Midland-Odessa (schools), we all have similar-level players but they need to be able to see the ones that are state-bound and that kind of stuff. When you get to play against a player like that, you get to feel the ball coming at you, that kind of stuff.”

The tournament field is rounded out by Odessa High, Odessa Permian, San Angelo Central, Lubbock Cooper and Wolfforth Frenship.

Follow Christopher on Twitter: @chris_MRTsports

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