CHAPMANVILLE — The Chapmanville Regional High School girls’ tennis team — and Chapmanville tennis in general — has a bright future ahead.
The program made great strides this season as the girls’ program won the Cardinal Conference championship, tied for the regional crown and won two state titles in doubles. The boys took second in the conference tourney.
At the state tournament last weekend in Charleston, the Lady Tigers won two doubles state titles.
In the Class AA/A No. 2 doubles state championship match, Chapmanville’s Haley Justice and Cassidy Lewis won 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 over Parkersburg Catholic’s Julie Wiseman and Kate Clowes after dropping the first set.
Chapmanville then took a state crown in No. 3 girls’ doubles as Myla Bryant and Sara Lambert prevailed 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 over Emma Cole and Camilla Deeb of Bluefield.
The future looks bright indeed for CRHS tennis.
Lewis, Lambert and Bryant are only freshmen and have three years of prep tennis ahead of them. Justice is a junior and has one year remaining.
Chapmanville, however, loses one outstanding senior to graduation in Sravya Pidaparthi, who is the CRHS Class of 2014 Valedictorian. Her sister Lasyapriya Pidaparthi is a sophomore on the team. The older Pidaparthi is going to go to college at Virginia Tech.
“These girls had their ups and downs this year but I’m very happy for them,” Chapmanville head coach Don Saunders said. “I’m especially happy for Sravya. She’s the only senior on our girls’ team and she had never made it to the state tournament before. She was close as a sophomore, but she really wanted it this year and told us this was her goal. It makes it even better that she gets to go with her sister. They’re very close and great girls.”
Assistant Coach Geoff Saunders said this season was amazing, but next year could be even better.
“I have been blessed to work beside two great tennis coaches, Don Saunders and Chris Kidd. We were all a nervous wreck all week, but these girls are so great and so easy to coach,” he said. “We have been so fortunate to have the people we have in this program. This has undoubtedly been the most successful year in Chapmanville tennis history. We each set out this year with a goal to have the best year possible and I think we got it. The girls had an awesome season and the best part is we are young. The next several years are going to be a whole lot of fun on the courts.”
The Lady Tigers return five of their top six players next season, losing Sravya Pidaparthi the No. 2 seed, and only Justice will be a senior on next year’s roster with more talent coming up from the middle school squad.
Kidd said the outlook is bright, but that the present should be celebrated first.
“I love the fact that we have almost all these girls back. It makes me sad to lose Sravya because she is such a hard worker,” Kidd said. “She wanted to make the state tournament probably more than anyone and I’m grateful she made it this year. She devoted herself to this program and we won’t be able to replace all that she brought to us. Thankfully, we have more talent moving up. The future is bright but I want to appreciate the present.”
Kidd said it was a remarkable season.
“What was done here is unprecedented,” he said. “This school used to never be considered a threat to win state titles in tennis and used to only qualify one or two members each season. Now here we are battling for state titles, sending all six players to the state tournament, eliminating the six-time state champions in Charleston Catholic, tying for a regional title in the toughest region in the state, beating every team in the region including the state champs, winning our conference title, setting the best record in school history, spoiling state titles for the teams vying for the team state title and winning the most titles of any team in Class AA/A.
“It’s an unbelievable accomplishment performed by wonderful kids. I would coach them forever if I could. But somebody had to challenge all these private schools and give the small public schools a voice in this sport. It’s like I told them all week long, ‘Why Not Us?’”