Tennis Takes on Conference, Finishes Season

Abby Holycross, Reporter

   After doing well in conference, the ladies tennis team advanced to the state tournament.   Led by sophomore Cate Cole, the team recorded a successful season according to coach Greg Gilliam. Cole finished fourth in state and third in conference. 

   “I felt like it was a great accomplishment of mine to make it the furthest anyone made it this year. It was a great opportunity to learn and grow from. It definitely is not something that a lot of people have achieved as a sophomore so it was a really cool experience,” Cole said.

   The team’s number one doubles partners senior Ashlyn Roffine and junior Kate Coleman also qualified for the state tournament. Junior Callie Shannon and sophomore Lilli Bartsch rounded out a productive doubles year.

   “We played the best we could play at the conference tournament, even with the nerves. There was tough competition but I think as a team we really showed up to play,” Lilli Bartsch said.

   During the conference tournament in Little Rock, the top six girls on the team won at least one match and qualified for play the second day. 

   According to coach Braden Eads the boy’s team gained improvement throughout the season, with dominant single players including sophomore Robinson Wright and senior Daniel Kiss. Setbacks plagued the doubles teams, but duos worked through the challenges as the season progressed.

   “Learning to play with someone new is difficult, but I saw each team grow as the season went on and I believe we played our best towards the end of the season,” coach Eads said. 

   Covid restrictions did not have too much of an effect on the season this year. Players were required to wear a mask while not on the court and they also couldn’t interact with the other teams like they have been in previous years. 

   “This year’s tennis season was a little different because we all had to wear masks when we weren’t on the court and the entire time when traveling. We also couldn’t high five after a great point or shake hands with our opponents which was very different. But strangely enough, tennis was the only activity for me that didn’t really change. It’s a socially distant sport anyways, and this really made my life feel a little more normal in a world that’s been turned upside down this past year,” junior Callie Shannon said.