DUBLIN — West Bladen junior Alanna Ludlum has achieved a number of athletic accolades, but Friday she was surprised to add one of the biggest of her high-school career to date.
Surrounded by her teammates and family, Ludlum was named the Four County Conference’s Player of the Year for tennis.
“I had no clue at all this was going to happen,” she said in the West Bladen Media Center after receiving the award. “I didn’t know why they were calling the team in.”
Ludlum was 13-5 overall for the Lady Knights as the team’s No. 1 singles player and 15-2 as part of the No. 1 doubles team, playing primarily with Amber Long.
But the junior became not only West Bladen’s first No. 1 singles player to finish undefeated in conference play with an 8-0 record, but also the first Lady Knights tennis player to be tabbed Player of the Year in the conference.
“She was the only conference player to go undefeated, so she deserves this,” said Jeff Atkinson, the girls varsity tennis coach. “That’s quite a feat because she beat some very good players.”
West Bladen has had undefeated singles players in the recent past, but not at No. 1 — those players included Erica Tanner at No. 3 and Alicia Avellaneda at No. 2.
Ludlum was also undefeated in conference play at No. 1 doubles with an 8-0 mark.
“Alanna really improved during the season,” Atkinson said. “She’s very athletic and speedy on the court and I think, if she chooses, she has the potential to be real good next year — perhaps even get a shot at making a small college team.”
For her part, Ludlum said she hasn’t yet decided where she wants to go to college or if sports will be a part of her college experience. She is also a key component of the Lady Knights’ varsity softball team as its catcher.
“I worked hard on my tennis this year and enjoyed getting better,” she said. “I think I’ve started to enjoy tennis a lot more because it’s an individual sport. But it’s too early to tell what will happen yet.”
West Bladen finished second in the Four County Conference with a 12-6 mark overall and 6-2 in the conference.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.