CHAPMANVILLE — Coming off a season where the Chapmanville Middle School tennis team were one of the top 10 programs in the middle school ranks the Tigers were expected to be down this season after losing 10 of their 13 players to the high school team.
However, the young Chapmanville club has managed to string together an impressive season despite all of the new blood in the lineup.
“We had 13 new players come out for the team this year,” CMS tennis coach Chris Kidd said. “It was challenging starting from scratch like we did, and I wondered how we would do, but these kids have worked unbelievably hard since June to be ready for the difficult schedule we play, and every team we’ve played has been surprised at how quickly these kids have improved since the first time we played them. I couldn’t be prouder of this group.”
The boys and girls teams also were able to retain control of their conference for the third straight season, as the Tigers defeated Poca for the title at Coonskin Park.
“Winning your conference and conference tournament is your ultimate goal each season,” Kidd said. “Even though we are very young I still felt if we worked hard enough we could keep the conference title with us, and the kids were so excited when we knocked Poca off to win it. I’ve enjoyed winning the conference all three years, but the past two years it was expected. This year we really had to fight for it, and sometimes it’s the unexpected titles or the titles you had to work really hard for that are more rewarding, and I was thrilled for the kids to get to experience that accomplishment.”
In the win over Poca, the Tigers boys won 4-3, getting wins from No. 1 seed Austin Hanshaw, 6-3 in singles, and then sweeping doubles with a 6-4 win by Hanshaw and Preston Dingess, a 6-3 win from Alec Stowers and Levi Adkins, and a 6-0 win from the No. 3 doubles team of Casey Adkins and James Carrier.
The CMS girls knocked off Poca 6-1 as they swept singles play.
Number one seed Ciera Stowers won 6-3, while No. 2 seed Charlee Mullins won a tight 7-6 match. No. 3 player Mackenzie Phipps won 6-1, and No. 4 seed Emily Gore defeated Poca 6-1.
The Tigers also picked up doubles wins from Phipps and Gore 6-1, and from the No. 3 doubles team of Myka Veres and Kelsey Lemmon 6-0. The Tigers also picked up wins from Emily Hughes and Allison Walls, as they won 6-0, and Mackenzie Mullins and Alexis Belcher prevailed 6-3 in doubles play.
The CMS boy’s team has also enjoyed wins recently over strong competition such as Ripley, Logan, and Blennerhassett, while the girls have knocked off tough teams such as Edison Middle School and Hurricane.
“The teams we play are not easy,” Kidd said. “If you look at our schedule Huntington, Logan, Winfield, Ripley, Greenbrier East, Greenbrier West, Hurricane and Parkersburg schools like Edison and Blennerhassett all are Class AAA schools in high school. We push to play the best because it will only make these kids better when they get to high school. The group that just moved up finished 14-1 and 12-1 for the Chapmanville girls team the past two years and the boys were 11-4 and 9-3 the past two years. They are ready to compete in high school as freshman, and if these kids stick with this sport they will be too. We have a lot of talent in this new group and a lot of great kids. Nine of my 16 players are sixth-graders and we’ve already made amazing progress. And if they continue playing through the winter and in our Logan County Summer Tennis League, the sky is the limit for these kids.”
The CMS Tigers will conclude their season at Coonskin Park with matches against Greenbrier East, Greenbrier West and Logan.