Set on state

Tennis team advances to College Station

Junior+Hutch+Tidwell+receives+a+serve.

Photo by Rachel Lewis

Junior Hutch Tidwell receives a serve.

Madeline Parish

Story by Ricky Cooks, staff writer

Teeth clenched. Sweat dripping. All of your hopes resting on a single match.

This was the case for the the Tiger tennis team at their UIL Team Tennis Regional Competition on Oct. 30-31 in Rockwall. Although unseeded and just recently losing to Longview High School for the district title, the team went into the Regional competition confident and mentally-prepared.

“We were the first team in over 25 years to lose to Longview,” freshman Sarah Rogers said. “It really motivated us to work harder and play harder.”

The team’s hard work paid off. They won 10-0 against Ennis High School in the quarter finals, 10-5 against Frisco Liberty High School in the semifinals and 10-5 against Frisco High School in the finals.

“The best memory from regionals was definitely watching the final matches.” senior Kevin Jefferson said. “Zack Moore and Sarah Rogers were playing third set tiebreakers, and we only needed one more match to win. Sarah won her match, and the team stormed the courts. It was amazing.”

The regional win was a big deal for the Tigers because they are the first team in school history to advance to state in Team Tennis.

“I think we made history because of all of the opposition we overcame.” junior Zack Moore said. “Making it to state is great, but the team being the underdog throughout everything made this even better for me.”

The tennis team has gone through many changes in the past three years, including the acquisition of two new coaches: Tom Faulkner and Toby Watson.

“Coach Faulkner and Coach Watson have both physically and mentally improved the team’s confidence over the short period of time they’ve been here,” senior Aubree Cramer said. “They have made our practices more intense and so far it has proved to work very well.”

Since they have returned from Rockwall, the team has been practicing harder than ever, preparing themselves for the stiff competition at the state tournament.

“Each of us are trying to perfect our games and fix the flaws that showed up at regionals,” senior John Norton said. “Also, we’ve been mentally preparing ourselves for the environment we’re going to have to play in. There’s going to be several thousand people there-  the atmosphere will be electric.”

The UIL Team Tennis State competition will be on Nov. 10-11 at Texas A&M University in College Station. The Tigers will travel across the state to win big and make memories.
“I’m excited about just being able to experience this journey with my team.” senior Carson Rommel said. “We have worked so hard and to be able to see it all pay off in College Station is monumental.”