It’s going to be a challenge for Logan High School tennis coach Justin Turner and the Wildcats this spring.
Only eight girls and six boys are out for the team this season.
The 2014 campaign got under way on Friday with a home match against Oak Hill. LHS went to Parkersburg on Saturday and host Lincoln County on Monday, Huntington on Tuesday and Westside on Wednesday.
“Tennis has seen its ups and downs for some reason this year in particular we find ourselves struggling to find players,” Coach Turner said. “I believe this summer we are going to have to switch our focus back to the grade schools and having more summer camps and utilizing the recreation center and our outdoor courts for these things. So I am challenging all grade school and middle school kids come watch a match and try tennis. It is a sport you can play the rest of your life.”
Turner enters his fifth season as the head coach of the Logan tennis program. He’s had success over the years with many of his players advancing to the Class AAA state tournament.
“This is my fifth season as head coach at LHS and it seems kids don’t get involved as much as they use to in athletics even comparing to just five years ago,” he said. “I think video games, electronics, etc., are hurting us and we have got to have a culture change before it goes in the wrong direction not only for school athletics but for our young children’s health in general.”
LHS will have a small roster both on the girls’ and boys’ sides.
“In tennis your top six seeds are considered your starters,” Turner said. “I have had as many as 10 boys and 10 girls on a team at one time. This year I have eight girls which is a good average but we have struggled to find boys. We ended up with six boys, however, one of my sophomores is out for three weeks with an injury. So, when you have one out you end up having to forfeit one of your matches. There is a seven-point system to determine who wins the match. For example, the top four players play singles and then you have three doubles teams. We are somewhat rebuilding on the boys side.”
The good news for the Logan boys is that top player Keith Williamson is back. He signed on to play at the University of Charleston earlier in the year. His doubles partner will be junior Jacob Adkins, who will also more than likely get a shot at playing collegiately.
“We also have sophomore Trevor Adkins and Tyler Moore. We picked up a couple new faces on the boys side this season with an incoming freshmen who looks promising with Cameron Adkins and senior Justin Browning who stepped up to play this year and will be a great asset,” Coach Turner said.
The outlook looks brighter for the Logan girls as the entire team from last year is back.
No. 1 seed Lauren Chambers is back to lead the team.
“Lauren is probably the most athletic female athlete at Logan High School,” Turner said. “She has been great to coach and is looking at a couple of colleges at this time and will hopefully sign to play tennis at one of them soon.”
The Lady Cats also have sophomore and No. 2 seed Haley Hatfield back. Junior Morgan Browning returns as well.
“She (Hatfield) is a vital part of this team along with junior Morgan Browning,” Turner said.
No. 4 seed Hanna Lester is back, too, for Logan. Juniors Brooke Mollett, Adriana Fleming, Riki Workman, and incoming freshman Ally McCoy round out the roster.
Turner is assisted by Cherith Altizer, a former LHS and University of Charleston player. Turner also played at UC.
“I feel like we have made more strides after bringing on assistant coach Cherith Altizer last season,” Turner said. “She has been a great asset to this team, she works hard and she pushes these kids with her playing knowledge from when she was a little girl playing all the way through UC.”
Making it to the state tournament is Logan’s goal.
“We have been represented well at the state tournament at some capacity every year I have coached,” Turner said. “Our goal, obviously, is to not only make it to the state tournament but to win at that level. I always have high expectations for these teams regardless of the talent. Our main goal is to give God’s glory for allowing us to play and allowing us to be healthy. So many people are unable to be out on a court or a field due to an illness or are not capable. Our thoughts and prayers are also with Skyler Miller as we have heard he is in remission and will beat this disease.”
Turner said he hopes his team has fun regardless of the outcome. Tennis is what many call a “life sport.”
“We are going to have good seasons and bad seasons but the main thing is to have fun,” he said. “We have had a motto from day one ‘Win or lose we always eat good.’ Obviously, faith, family and academics come first but athletics are important as well. They teach discipline and healthy habits. Our community is really supportive and we encourage people to come out to our matches and bring there families because it encourages our kids and it will hopefully build a future with others.”
LHS opens season
The Logan tennis team opened the season on Friday afternoon at home against Oak Hill at the LHS tennis courts.
The weather was perfect with sunny skies and temperatures near 70.
The Logan girls won 5-2 over Oak Hill. The LHS boys lost 4-3.
In No. 1 girls’ doubles, Logan’s Lauren Chambers and Morgan Browning won 8-2. In No. 3 doubles, Adrianna Fleming and Brooke Mollett of Logan prevailed 8-2 as well.
In No. 1 singles, Chambers was an 8-0 winner over Mary Kate Rosiek of Oak Hill.
Logan lost in the No. 2 by default.
In the No. 3. Browning won 8-1 in her match over Miranda Clark.
The No. 4 singles match was won 8-2 by the Lady Cats’ Hanna Lester.
On the boys’ side, Logan’s No. 1 doubles team of Keith Williamson and Jacob Adkins won 8-3.
Williamson defeated Cameron Heath 8-6 in the No. 1 boys’ singles match.
Adkins was an 8-5 winner over Christian Heath in the No. 2.
The LHS tennis team was scheduled to play at Parkersburg on Saturday.
On Monday, Logan is scheduled to bring it indoors with a match against Lincoln County at the Chief Logan Recreation Center tennis courts. LHS is slated to host defending state champion Huntington Tuesday and Westside Wednesday, weather permitting.
The weather is expected to turn cold Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. A high of 39 is forecast for Tuesday with snow showers.