The Chapmanville area tennis program keeps growing and keeps getting better.
That was evident on Wednesday night at Barboursville as the Chapmanville Middle School netters scored a win on the road.
“Barbousville is a perennial power in middle school tennis and one of the best feeder programs in the state,” CMS coach Chris Kidd said. “Most of those kids move up to play for Huntington, who won the Class AAA state title in boys and girls this past year. We went 11-1 on the girls team last year with the only loss to Barboursville and were 9-3 for the boys, but this is our biggest win to date in our now third year as a program.”
On the girls’ side, Chapmanville’s Cassidy Lewis and Myla Bryant won 6-0 in a doubles match.
Chapmanville’s Hali Baldwin and Samantha Williams won 6-4, while Sara Lambert and Richelle Thompson also won 6-0 in doubles action.
The Lady Tigers’ Sara Lambert and Samantha Williams also took a 6-0 victory. Hali Baldwin and Richelle Thompson prevailed 6-4 in another doubles match.
On the boys’ side, Chapmanville No. 1 singles player, Brycen Kuenzel, took a 6-3 victory, while No. 2 Austin Hanshaw won 6-1.
In doubles, Chapmanville’s Kuenzel and Jeremy Lilly took a 6-2 win, while Josh Miller and Hanshaw won 6-4 and Preston Dingess and D.J. Conley also won 6-3.
Kidd said he was pleased overall with the results.
“We came out really flat on the girls side,” he said. “Barboursville can overwhelm you with their talent, but we just kept plugging away and looking for our opportunities. Doubles is where our strength is and they showed that once singles ended. We work together well and communicate on the court. The boys were amazing. I didn’t know what to expect coming in. I have three experienced players and three who have never played before, but the new guys held their own and picked up some big wins. They didn’t let the moment become too much for them, and that’s a great sign. I’m as happy for them as I am anyone on the team.”
Kidd said his team, though, has had a few setbacks.
“We had a tough start to the season. Our number one player from last year, Hollie Carter, decided not to play this season because of exhaustion, and our number three boy from last year, Austin Bledsoe, didn’t come out either, so those were two big blows early on,” Coach Kidd said. “But this is an experienced bunch. I have seven girls who have played three years for me, and two boys who have been here since the beginning. We didn’t panic and we moved forward. I admire the willpower and fight this group has. They aren’t intimidated like they were when they were in sixth grade. They look forward to these challenges and want to play the best teams.”
Kidd said his team has also battled injuries.
“We had a tough setback tonight as well,” he said. “Abby Marcum, our number two girls player, hurt her left knee and is looking to get an MRI this weekend to see how she’s doing. Abby tried to fight through the pain because that’s the competitor she is, and if I hadn’t have forced her out of the match she would have went out and played, that’s just how she is. But we’ll see what the doctors say. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious and she’ll be able to get back as soon as possible. She’s one of the leaders on this team and someone who helped build this program.”
Kidd said his CMS squads will face a challenging schedule during the fall season.
“We have one of, if not the toughest schedule in the state this year,” he said. “We still have matches against big schools like Winfield, Logan, and Ravenswood, and we added new teams this season such as Ripley, Hurricane, Edinson, Blennerhassett, and Fatima. That’s a rough slate for the type of talent those teams have, but our kids have reached a point where they want to stack themselves up against the best and they did that tonight.”
Kidd said he hopes to have a good season this year.
“I’ve been excited for this season, but also dreading this season,” he said. “It’s hard to go into a year knowing you are losing a lot of special kids who made this program great and made my job so enjoyable for three years, but I want this to be a great year for them and hopefully they can leave their mark on this program for a long time to come, and hopefully one day the state.”
Chapmanville tennis has shown marked improvement in recent years, Kidd said.
“Chapmanville has become more and more known throughout the state for our tennis these past three years,” he said. “Our feeder system is paying off and we’re starting to have more year round interest. Chapmanville tennis used to struggle just to have teams and now we are a threat. You can see the success at the high school level just this past May. Our boys went 12-5 and girls went 14-3, which were the best in school history, and we qualified the most people for the state tournament in school history (Seth Deskins, Kishan Patel, Emily Stroud, Kylie Clay, Allie Carter) and we’re still trying to build.
“We have more of a family atmosphere over here now. We have current and former players who will come over and help with practice, give instruction, and even come to the matches to cheer for our kids. That’s incredibly rare, and something I would have never predicted three years ago.”
Chapmanville Middle’s next tennis match is next Wednesday, Sept. 5 at Ravenswood. The first serve is set for 4:30 p.m.