CHAPMANVILLE, W.Va. — The Chapmanville Middle School tennis team has a new look for the 2016 season.
After going 12-0 last season on the boys and girls teams the roster has been nearly stripped of all of its members, as the boys team saw all four of their players move on to the high school team, while the girls team sent five of their seven players to the high school as well.
The barn may have been nearly emptied on the CMS tennis team, but with six new girls and four new boys coming on board this season, the Tigers have continued to succeed despite their youth.
Seventh-year head coach Chris Kidd said the losses were difficult, but the play of his young group has been impressive to watch.
“Obviously losing the talent and leadership we had with the last group always hurts,” Kidd said. “I had most of those kids for three years and they really grew as players and people in those three years, and I think they all are going to make great high school players, but the new group I have is very competitive and fun to be around. Most of them are sixth-graders with a few seventh-graders, and we only have one eighth-grader, so we are a young team that keeps getting better every day.”
Kidd said the learning curve is always difficult at first in tennis.
“Getting the basics and fundamentals in tennis down is always tough at first,” he said. “It can honestly be frustrating to beginners, but I tell them every year patience is the key word. If they stay patient and keep working hard at it the success will come, and it has. When we started three week practice back in June they couldn’t get a serve in or get the ball over the net, and now they’re winning tennis matches against some really good and experienced teams, and that’s all credit to them and how hard they’ve worked.”
Kidd also said the family environment of the team has helped build the success of the program.
“I’m just unbelievably proud of our older kids for helping the younger ones out,” he said. “When we only had two players coming back two of my high school girls players, Myla Bryant and Cassidy Lewis, and one of my former players, Haley Justice, who were apart of the first team we ever had here seven years ago, came with me to speak to people about playing this season. These girls are state champions, and Haley played college tennis at Pikeville last season, and I know they have better things to do and are busy, but it meant a lot that they still care enough about this program to help out. And even at practice, everyday I’ve had Emily Gore and Nick Carter there to help with drills, and Levi Adkins and Mackenzie Phipps have been there, and they were on our undefeated team last season”
Early in the season, the new look CMS tennis team has been able to pull off wins against Poca and Ripley, as well as getting a few individual match wins against a very good and experienced Logan team.
Against Logan, the Timberwolves won the encounter, but CMS picked up wins in No. 1 singles by Emily Carter 6-2, and in No. 2 singles from Emma Muncy 6-4, while one match was decided in a tiebreaker, 7-6 in Logan’s favor, and another match finished in favor of Logan 6-4.
“That match showed me a lot,” Kidd said. “We scrimmaged Logan during the summer and they took it to us. They beat us 6-0 and 6-1 in every match, and for us to be competitive and even win a few matches against that team was a win for us. Logan has great kids both on and off the court, and my brother (Bryan Kidd) has done a tremendous job coaching that group. They could contend for a few conference titles this year and are a very experienced group. But I think that showing for us built some momentum going forward and our kids believe now that they can play with any team if they can play with this year’s Logan team.”
Against Poca, No. 1 seed Carter won 6-0 and 6-0, No. 2 seed Muncy was a 6-0 and 6-1 victor, No. 3 seed Jill Blevins came away with a 6-4 win and a 6-0 victory, No. 4 seed Carley Toler won her matches as well 6-1, and 6-0.
In doubles action, the No. 1 team of Carter and Muncy won going away 6-0 and 6-0, in the No. 2 match-up Blevins and Toler took two hard fought sets, winning 6-4 and 6-4, the No. 3 doubles team of Lauren Workman and Ava Hill were 6-0 and 6-3 winners over the Dots, and Andi Bledsoe and Tara Christian also won a tight set 7-5.
For the boys, No. 1 seed David Hunter was a 6-4 winner, while No. 4 seed Preston Dunn came away with a 6-0 win. In doubles, Hunter and Ethan Smith took their match 6-3, while Dunn and Cody Bell received a 6-0 win.
The boys team also was able to defeat the Ripley Vikings, as Smith won in singles action 7-6, while Bell and Dunn each took 6-0 decisions. In doubles, Hunter and Smith were victorious 6-4, with Bell and Dunn getting a 6-0 win.
Kidd said he see’s a bright future for his current group.
“For us to beat and compete a AAA school that’s as good as Ripley, and a school that’s been as good as Poca has been over the years, and compete with Logan in a year where they are very strong, I couldn’t be happier,” he said. “My first group struggled in their first year and they went on to be 12-1 and 14-1 in the next two years, including producing four state champions, four regional tournament champions and seven multi-Cardinal Conference champions. My second group struggled in year one, then went 9-3 and 12-0 in their next two years, and I’m excited to see what they do at the next level. This group has a great feel to it. They want to win, they want to be good and if they are willing to work for it, I think they will have tremendous success in the near future. Willpower, fight, and work ethic means everything in this sport and I think I have a group that is willing to push themselves in all three phases. I’m excited to see where this group goes as we keep moving forward.”
The CMS tennis team is scheduled to get back into action Wednesday as they travel to Logan to take on the Timberwolves. Chapmanville then hosts Ripley on Thursday.
The first serve is set for 4:30 p.m. for both matchups.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).