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CROWELL STAR SKYLER HAYES BACK IN UIL TENNIS FINAL

Crowell star Skyler Hayes back in UIL Tennis final

ANDY ROBERTSON

Times Record | 5/17/2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Times Record

COLLEGE STATION — Skyler and Tristen Hayes were back at the UIL State Tennis Tournament Thursday.

Which was good news for the Crowell Wildcats once again. It was just a different Hayes doing the heavy lifting. In fact, Skyler was doing all the work on the court as the 2017 doubles champion earned his way into the 2018 UIL Class A Boys Singles championship match.

It wasn't a given Hayes would get there. Tristen, a two-time state doubles champ, had to settle for bronze in singles his junior year. Skyler had a slow start, partly because of the slow pace, in Thursday's quarterfinal with Riley Lewis of Borden County. But he won 7-5, 6-3.

He predicted he'd play better in the semifinal and was admittedly already eyeballing the other half of the draw where he knew defending champ Dominic Gibson would emerge. He just didn't want to leave the Mitchell Tennis Center without getting a shot at Gibson, and a second title.

He'll get that shot at 8:30 a.m. Friday against Gibson, who had three 6-0 sets and one 6-1 in two dominating wins.

But no one took a set off Hayes, either. He rallied to force a first-set tiebreaker in a 7-6 (7), 6-0 semifinal win over Ryan Cox of Knippa. Hayes missed a easy volley with a complete open court in the tiebreaker. But his response was to keep coming forward and after a big serve to end it he said let out an emotional "come on."

And with his smile on his way out, he still had that swagger as he quickly reminder his brother of what happened his junior year. Rewind a year and Hayes was a little nervous that he'd be the weak link. He didn't want to be the reason Tristen went out with less than gold in his final high school event.

Motivated to help his brother, Skyler made more than enough shots in no-room-for-error three-set championship win over Nazareth.

Motivated to beat his brother, Skyler again made big shots to reach that goal, even in one of the hottest UIL State Tennis Tournaments in recent memory.

"He got third and I'm first or second now, hopefully first," Skyler said. "I'm looking forward to proving everybody wrong. Everybody thinks this guy is unbeatable. But nobody is unbeatable. It's a matter of whether you play good or don't play good; I'm definitely going to bring my A game.

"I didn't like the heat but I like the atmosphere. It's definitely more exposure than we get in our small town. (His key Thursday) was a bunch of water, a bunch of drinking and not only that I'd get tir... Click here to read full article

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