CHAPMANVILLE — The Chapmanville Regional High School tennis program have made great strides in recent years.
In 2014, the CRHS girls’ team won the most state titles of any girls team in 2014 in class AA/A.
The boys’ team defeated the past nine boys state champions in Charleston Catholic and Williamstown this past season.
Both the boys and girls teams swept to the Cardinal Conference championship this season.
Now, they are seeing one of their own take her talents to the college level.
Haley Justice, a recent graduate of Chapmanville, has signed on to play college tennis with the University of Pikeville Bears beginning this fall.
Justice joins a UPike team with members from Argentina, Brazil, and Morocco on the Pikeville roster.
Justice also joins former Tiger tennis players in recent years to move on and play at the college level, including Natasha Williams at Bluefield State, Kylie Clay at Alice Lloyd, David Cavins at the University of Charleston, and Justice’s older sister Kristen Justice, who played at Davis and Elkins.
The Tigers’ boys and girls team returns nearly every starter to next year’s roster, everyone except the top player on the girls’ team, Justice.
Justice finished her career by making it to the final eight in the toughest division in the state for the second consecutive year, as she defeated Wyoming East 8-1 in the first round before being knocked off in the quarterfinals by the eventual state champion, Kelsey Roby of Petersburg. It was the second straight year Justice’ season would end at the hands of the eventual state champion.
Justice leaves Chapmanville as the most decorated player in Tigers history.
Over her four-year career Justice has compiled a list of accomplishments unmatched at Chapmanville.
She is the only player in Chapmanville history to reach the state tournament three years in a row, one of only three Chapmanville girls players to qualify for the state tournament in singles and doubles along with Williams and Clay and had an overall record of 116-35, the best in Chapmanville tennis history.
Justice also played on the four best girls’ teams record-wise in school history (57-12 overall, 15-2 best record in 2014) and is one of only four players to win a state championship in Chapmanville tennis history along with Cassidy Lewis, Myla Bryant, and Sara Lambert, all in 2014.
In addtion, she finished as one of the top eight players in the state in No. 1 singles in back-to-back seasons in 2014 and 2015 and won more state tournament matches than any Chapmanville player in history with five, defeating Keyser 8-3, Bridgeport 8-6, Bluefield 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, Parkersburg Catholic 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the state championship, and Wyoming East 8-1.
Justice also helped Chapmanville win back-to-back Cardinal Conference girls team championships for the first time in school history and won four Cardinal Conference titles in singles and doubles.
The CRHS girls’ team tied for the regional title in 2014 and finished as the third-best team in the state in 2014.
Justice reached three regional finals in singles and doubles, eliminated Charleston Catholic in the regional tournament in back-to-back seasons (Charleston Catholic had won six consecutive team state titles), beat every private school and every team in the region over her four year career, and was a two-time Midwest USTA tennis Sportsmanship Award Winner.
She was also Chapmanville tennis’ first ever team captain.
The vacancy Justice will leave in the Tiger tennis program will be very large, said Coach Chris Kidd, who coached Justice for five years as the head coach of the Chapmanville Middle School team and was one of the assistant coaches on the Chapmanville Regional staff.
“The hardest part of coaching is saying goodbye to your seniors,” Kidd said. “Every year is very difficult, but this one is different. I get undo credit for the middle school team, because without Haley Justice there wouldn’t have been a middle school team to start everyone out in. I said no over and over again to everyone, but there was one person who wouldn’t accept no, and continuously hounded me through her seventh-grade summer to make me take the job.”
Kidd said Justice will be sorely missed.
“She made the past five years some of the best for all of us, and it’s painful and sad to know she won’t be with us next year, but it’s always wonderful to know that you had people like her and her family on your team and in your life that made you a better person, and better coach,” Kidd said. “Players you can replace, but people like her, you just can’t. No words can ever express just how truly proud of her we all are.”