CHAPMANVILLE — It was a double sweep earlier in the week for the Chapmanville Middle School tennis team.
The Chapmanville girls defeated Ripley 10-0 on Monday, while the CMS boys were a 4-3 winner. Then on Tuesday, the Lady Tigers won 5-3 over Winfield and the boys were a 4-3 victor.
“To have the schedule we’ve had and to go 4-1 out of it in the first five matches is amazing,” CMS coach Chris Kidd said. “We beat two Class AAA schools back-to-back and haven’t had much rest. I knew when Tommy Kirk and I made this schedule it was going to be a tough test, but they’ve held up better than I could’ve asked. We are traveling all over the state and we’ve dealt with injuries already, but the kids keep pulling through. I have no doubt we have the hardest schedule in the state. Every team I’ve shown our schedule to has said we’re insane for playing everyone we’ve put on our slate, but I wanted the kids to experience the best competition in the state and they’ve been up to the task so far.
“I’m just glad they are having a good time doing this thus far. I know I ask a lot of them and my parents with this team but they’re all incredibly helpful and willing to follow my crazy practice and match schedules, but it’s paying off for the kids. Thankfully we get the rest of the week off to try and rest up. Four matches in seven days has been exhausting, but I think we’ll be ready to go by next week when we have to travel to Huntington.”
Kidd said his team’s depth has been significant.
“What has helped make us more successful is our depth,” he said. “I have girls that play deep on my roster that would be the main player on some teams, but they did this themselves. They’ve been so competitive with each other and pushed each other which has made them better. We don’t have the perks we need to compete like the private schools do or the other top programs, but we have developed a great sense of competition among ourselves that we have benefitted from once our matches start.”
Kidd said he hopes his plays will stick with tennis for years to come and make it a life sport.
“My big hope out of all of this is just that they have a great time with this sport for four more years and maybe even into college,” he said. “They all have become such good players and have a love for this sport. I just want them to enjoy it as long as they can. They’re such good kids and I want the best for them in this sport and in life. The best thing I get told by other teams is not how well they play, but how well-behaved and polite they are. It’s important to me that they play well, but being good people and students is more of a concern to me, and I’m thankful and proud each time I hear that from other teams and coaches. Wins and loses come and go, but your character is what remains in the end. They make me, their parents and their school proud each time they take the court.”
Coach Kidd said the wins over Ripley and Winfield were both good ones.
“We had never played Ripley before so I had no idea what we were in store for. They are a good AAA team, and in no way was the final score of the girls match indicitive of how the matches went. This was a tight match and we were fortunate enough to catch some breaks to get us the win,” he said. “Winfield is a team that I love to play because it’s always a battle. They do such a good job with their program and in helping me that I always appreciate playing them. It’s always a marathon when we get involved. Last year we won after playing in Chapmanville for nearly five hours and tonight at Winfield was pretty similar. We got the win but we went to three tiebreakers to get it done and just happened to win the big points when they mattered. But we have always been evenly matched.”
In the boys’ match against Ripley, Chapmanville No. 1 singles player Brycen Kuenzel beat Trae Swisher, 6-2.
Kuenzel and Austin Hanshaw won a doubles match, 6-4. Josh Miller and Preston Dingess also won in doubles as did Dingess and D.J. Conley.
In the Chapmanville-Ripley girls’ match, Lady Tigers’ No. 1 Cassidy Lewis took a 6-4 win over the Vikings’ Madison Poe.
“Cassidy is doing so well adjusting to the No. 1 spot. She jumped from No. 4 to No. 1 in just one year and that is an incredible difference in the talent level you are playing. Every match is a battle for her, but she has the personality and determination to deal with the success and tough times. I’ve been really impressed with her so far,” Coach Kidd said.
In the No. 2 singles match, the Lady Tigers’ Abby Marcum beat Maddie Fiashier, 7-5.
“I can’t say enough about how tough this girl is. She’ll dp anything to prove how tough she is and how good she is. She hates to lose and battled back in this match even with her knee bothering her,” Kidd said.
In the No. 3, Chapmanville’s Hali Baldwin beat Jaelyn Hunt 6-3.
“Hali can be very easy going sometimes, but she’s become more of a fighter this year,” Kidd said. “She doesn’t let things go as easy as she use to and I’ve been really pleased with how she’s competing with everyone. She’s worked hard to improve and it’s paying off for her.”
In the No. 4, the Lady Tigers Myla Bryant was a 6-2 winner over Cheyenne Jones.
Richelle Thompson also won, 6-0, in singles action.
“I’m very happy for Richelle,” Kidd said. “She was new last year and started a year behind most of the girls, but she has gotten better really fast in the past year and has been pushing every girl on the team in matches. A year ago she struggled to get the point going, and now she’s winning big matches for us. She’s dedicated herself to getting better and I’m very proud of her.”
In No. 1 doubles action against Ripley, Chapmanville’s Lewis and Marcum won 6-4 and No. 2 Baldwin and Bryant won 6-0. Sara Lambert and Samantha Williams (6-0) also took a win in doubles.
“These two are night and day personality wise, but have been so much fun to coach together,” Kidd said of Lambert and Williams. “They play different styles but work really well together. What I love about them is that they always have a great time on the court and continue to love playing. They have gotten so much better and that’s really thanks to the work they put in playing each other.”
Thompson and Williams also won 6-0 for the Lady Tigers. Lambert and Myka Veres won 7-6.
“Myka is new to the sport, but the girls have been great in helping her get use to everything,” Kidd said. “They’ve helped coach her as well and Myka is getting better every match. This was a tight match but she pulled through and played great in the big points. She’s the only underclassman I have for the girls so I’m glad she’s learning from them and getting better.”
In boys’ action against Winfield, Chapmanville’s Kuenzel won 7-6 (7-2) over Hayden Summers in the No. 1 singles match.
“This was a match Brycen use to struggle with, but he is so much more relaxed in these situations now and has become mentally tough in every match. He’s played a really tough schedule as the one seed, but has beaten some really talented players,” Kidd said.
In the No. 2, Austin Hanshaw of CMS beat Nathan Polk 7-6 (7-4).
“Austin was down 3-0 and could’ve just caved and let the match go, but he showed a lot of mental toughness to come back against an older and tough opponent. It takes a lot to put the score out of your mind and fight back like that, but Austin’s got a lot of promise in this sport if he keeps working at it. I’m really encouraged by him so far,” Coach Kidd said.
Miller and Conley won in No. 2 doubles, while Chapmanville’s No. 3 tandem of Dingess and Conley also got a win.
“All three of these guys are new to the sport and were thrown into the fire of this schedule,” Kidd said. “We had to do a lot of work to get them to this stage, but they have enjoyed the process and have been surprisingly durable against kids with three and four and sometimes seven years more experience than them. It’s incredible what they’ve done this early in their tennis development.”
Against Winfield, the Lady Tigers’ No. 3 Baldwin won 6-2 over the Generals’ Anicah Smith.
No. 4 Bryant beat Emily Moore 7-6 (12-10).
“This was an emotionally draining match,” Kidd said. “Myla was down two match points but kept fighting back. I’ve coached her for three years and have never been prouder of her than I was after this match. Her opponent threw everything she had at Myla but she didn’t budge. That’s a match she would’ve lost before, but she showed the guts she had in pulling this match off.”
Chapmanville also won in the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. Baldwin and Bryant won 6-3 in the No. 2. while Thompson and Williams took a 6-4 victory in the No. 3. Lambert and Williams also won 6-0.
Chapmanville’s next match is Tuesday, Sept. 18 at Huntington against Fatima Middle School. The first serve is set for 4 p.m.