Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Sports

October 17, 2013

GC Tennis: Tiger tennis team heads for Area Tournament

Corsicana — Laughter.

That’s what they heard during practice.

Not roll in the floor laughing, but that pleasant laughter that comes when you’re having a good time.

That may be Corsicana’s secret, that may just be what is at the heart of this Tigers tennis team that had not only a memorable season on the court, but a cherished one off of it.

“The difference in this group and last year is the way they blend together. They care about each other,’’ said Tigers tennis coach Chad White, whose kids enter the Area Tournament today in Ennis. “They are more team oriented. That’s pretty important to have kids care about the team. When you have a group that’s team oriented they will work harder and want the team to do well.’’

Part of that caring attitude about the team carried over to practice, where the kids simply had a better time and enjoyed practicing and getting better.

“They get along well and that makes for a more efficient practice,’’ White said. “I can definitely say we had more efficient practices this year because of this group.’’

White said he believed practices were more fun and the end result was a better team — from top to bottom.

“It’s been fun, definitely,’’ said Ellen Yates, a senior on the team. “This team is a lot closer. We got closer faster, and since we’re closer the practices went smoother. We were goofing off and having fun but also being serious.’’

The results were obvious. Corsicana destroyed every team in District 16-4A to win the title easily. The closest match was a 15-2 win over Whitehouse.

Still, the kids celebrated when they ripped Jacksonville 16-2 last week to clinch the title.

“It had been five years since we had won the district when we won it last year,’’ White said after the match. “So winning it last year was a big deal, but for us to win it two years in a row means a lot to the kids.’’

They finished the regular season at 17-4, winning 10 of their last 11 matches and sweeping the district with a 6-0 record. But this is just the beginning. The next step is history.

The UIL has never had an Area Tournament.

“The kids are really excited about the Area Tournament,’’ White said. “It’s a new format and its the first one. They want to be the first ones ever to win it. They want to put up (a banner) with our other ones that says, District Champs, Area Champs.’’

The tennis program at Corsicana has a long and rich history, and this team wants to leave its mark.

“It’s not just because it’s the first time (for an Area Tournament), but because we actually have a team that can take the Area Tournament,” said Jonathan Caston, a senior who plays No. 1 singles and doubles on the team. “My main concern is that we are going in with a dominating team going in (to region) s area champs. It’s exciting to have a team like that.’’

If the Tigers finish first or second in the Area Tournament they will advance to the Region Tournament, and Caston and the players on the team think they can not only win the Area title but make some noise at region.

It’s been that kind of season for the Tigers, who have 14 boys and 14 girls on the team.

The boys team consists of Caston, Ben Crocker, Tyler Schultz, Brandon Levenson, Jacob Middleton, Daniel Barrera, Vincente Castillo, Ivan Ramirez, Tahoe Mickle, Juan Torres, Trent Hayes, Pete Farmer, Brent Rhodes and Justin Hazelwood. Maggie Phinney is the No. 1 girls player and she teams with Caroline Kennemore on the girls No. 1 doubles team. The other girls are Yates, Melany Betencourt, Cecilia Hernandez, Chelsea Vandiver Michelle Cho, Laura Flores, Rebecca Hambrick, Helen Hibbs, Crystalynn Shirley, Grace Updegrove, Jamison Teague and Emily Guo.

 

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