PERKINSTON — Two Mississippi Gulf Coast tennis players signed scholarships Thursday to continue their playing careers at NCAA Division II University of West Alabama.
Noah Tippen (So, Trussville, Ala./Hewitt-Trussville) and Katie Burrall (So, Hernando/Hernando) each won state and region championships during their time at Gulf Coast.
Tippen won the No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles titles last year and has helped lead the Bulldogs to a runner-up finish in each MACJC/Region 23 Tournament. Gulf Coast heads to the national tournament for the second straight season next month.
"We've learned a lot of strategy," he said. "The stuff that Coach Bourgeois teaches us, we're able to implement that in matches. It's helped to improve my game."
Tippen went 8-8 in singles and 14-5 in doubles and this spring. He chose West Alabama, which is located in Livingston, because of familiarity.
"It's close to home. It's a two-hour drive instead of a four-and-a-half hour drive," he said. "I know some of the people in the program, so it's a good opportunity to get back home."
Burrall won No. 3 singles and No. 2 double championships in her only season at Perkinston. She went 18-3 in singles and 17-4 in doubles this fall while helping Gulf Coast win its first women's team state championship since 1987.
"Mentally I learned a lot," she said. "I got more practice, so my strokes started coming together."
She's headed to Livingston to play, in part thanks to Tippen.
"I heard the coach was good and the program was good," she said. "Noah had the coach come and he watched me. That sealed the deal."
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