For most middle school and high school students the summer months are a time for relaxation and spending a lot of time at the pool.
But for a group of area tennis players, they have been hard at work.
They have been on the hardcourts.
Just recently, the West Virginia Servivors’ summer tennis team competed in the Ohio Valley District Championships in Wilmington, Ohio, in an event that attracted more than 20 teams from Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan.
In the event, the Servivors finished fifth overall as their 14-and-under division team won 81 games, while the 18-and-under team tallied 78 games total. In all, the Servivors won 16 individual matches en route to their fifth-place finish, which was a big improvement from last season.
The team was coached by Chapmanville Middle School tennis coach Chris Kidd and his brother Bryan Kidd, the head coach down the road at Logan Middle School.
Players were made up of tennis athletes from Chapmanville, Logan and Scott.
Team members included: Haley Justice; Cassidy Lewis; Colton Townsend; Dakota Saunders; Eric Constant; Kali Scott; Chyanne Farmer; Jamie Ball; Alec Stowers; Ciera Stowers; Austin Hanshaw; Mac Phipps; and Emily Gore.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our kids or program after this week,” Coach Chris Kidd said. “I hope this continues to grow and more people choose to get involved. It’s a wonderful sport with wonderful people, and the great part is you earn your spot in tennis. There’s no politics, no who has more money or who donated what, it’s just bottom line, if you win the most matches you play, and I hope a lot of parents and kids that read this understand that and get their kids involved in a sport that can last a lifetime.”
Along with their fifth-place finish, the Servivors also received nine Sportsmanship Awards at the Ohio Valley District Championships.
Coaches from each team are allowed to choose who they thought showed the best sportsmanship during matches, and eight of the Servivors team members were chosen: Ciera Stowers, Alec Stowers, Emily Gore, Austin Hanshaw, Cassidy Lewis, Eric Constant, Dakota Saunders, and Haley Justice, who received the award twice.
Coach Bryan Kidd said this honor is just as important as winning to him.
“Obviously you come here to win, but you also come to represent your team, your area, and your state,” he said. “Chris and I explained this to them and they did everybody proud. We won and lost with class, and the kids were very well behaved. Even the tournament directors told us how nice all of our players and parents were, and that’s a great compliment at these tournaments.”
Chris Kidd also said it was a great honor for his kids and program.
“I stress this, and I know Bryan does too every year that we compete hard but still act like gentlemen and ladies. You can compete and play hard without acting like a crazy person, which trust me you get a lot of kids and parents that do in this sport,” he said. “But all of our kids were very deserving of this award.”
Chris Kidd also wanted to thank the Chapmanville, Logan and Scott communities for their help in supporting the teams trip to Wilmington, Ohio.
“I know the people and businesses of this area get asked a lot when it comes to donating, but my brother and I and the players were so grateful to all the businesses who gave us donations, and all of the people who stopped to donate while we were tagging in the streets,” he said. “A few people said they didn’t know if tennis would get that much support because it’s perceived to be a rich kids sport. Well, not for us it isn’t. We have blue collar families on our team. We’ve got parents that are teachers, coal miners, work graveyard shifts, custodians, you name it. We have hard working families that pinch pennies to make this sport happen for these boys and girls, and I really wanted to say thank you to everyone that has supported us. My old tennis coach Mark Spriggs said, ‘It takes a community to build a tennis program’, and we’ve got one of the best communities you could ask for to help support us.”