Berrien High opens new tennis facility

Feb. 1—NASHVILLE — Berrien High is ready to show off its new athletics facilities.

Tuesday afternoon, the high school tennis teams played their first matches in a brand new facility on campus. It is scarcely the only improvement for BHS athletics. To its immediate south is a new soccer and track complex.

Head girls tennis coach and athletic director Jarrett Luke is thrilled about the new digs. He has coached BHS tennis for 25 years, but, until now, never had a capable on-campus facility.

Tennis courts were built in the early days of the school, but only two of them. In recent years, city courts behind Hardee's were their home.

Now, Luke and boys head coach Steven Roberts have 10 courts for matches that won't require a bus ride. Not only are they ample space for players, but for everything else.

"It's a top-notch facility," Luke said.

Covered seats allow a clear view of all matches. Twenty benches are on the courts for players, complete with Berrien's name and logo. The personalization even extends to trash cans.

"Everything we asked for, we got," Roberts said. For years, Berrien tennis has been among the state's top programs. "Now our facilities [are as good]," said Luke.

A separate building has concessions, restrooms and storage. Tennis even has its own parking lot.

Everyone at the opening of the courts was impressed, Luke said. He gave his appreciation to administration, the Board of Education and Superintendent Robin Marcrum for making the facility possible.

As for results, Berrien's Rebelettes defeated Ware County, 4-1. Ware was an elite eight team in Class 5A in 2023. The Gators defeated Berrien's boys.

Karla Wiley won at No. 1 singles, 6-3, 6-4. Joci Holbrook needed a third set to win at No. 3 singles, 6-2, 1-6, 10-4. Berrien won both doubles matches. At No. 1 was Kayla Wiley and Kaleigh Griffin, 6-0, 6-0 and at No. 2, Alli Butler and Sarah Nugent, 6-4, 6-2. Emmi Warren fell in her match, 7-6, 6-0, but Jordan Wright won an extra match.

Gone are the days of Berrien soccer sharing a field with football. Track is arguably getting an even bigger boost. Berrien is now able to host track meets, something impossible for several decades. Luke said home meets will happen there in 2024.

For those who still have visions of the old campus — Berrien High opened in 1954, with a gym completed in 1962 — its modern facilities look quite different.

The tennis complex occupies the old gym and track sites, and a golf practice area is also where the track once was. Soccer and track are now on the old front campus.

Berrien's "new" high school is now more than 20 years old. The original gym and old high school were demolished a decade ago. The football field, there from the start, was completely renovated in 2018.