Among those athletes gearing up for the beginning of a new spring sports season are local high school tennis players, many of whom have been taking advantage of the warm weather that we have been experiencing recently.
Whitley County Tennis Head Coach David Halcomb said, “In years past we’ve not gotten outdoors much at all before the start of a season, but in the last couple of weeks we’ve had four-or-five really good days where we have been able to get out and do some stuff. That has been a big plus for us.”
Halcomb is excited about the upcoming season, with several young competitors on his roster ready to make their mark in the region, and hopefully at the state level as well. “We’re loaded with juniors on both the boys’ and the girls’ teams,” he explained. “There are no seniors, but we still have a lot of experienced kids.”
Among those players with the most experience is junior Anna Grace Zehr, who qualified as a singles competitor in last year’s KHSAA state championship tournament. Also coming off of a state championship tournament appearance in 2016 is junior Hannah Thomas, who advanced all the way to the Sweet 16 of the girls’ singles bracket as a member of the Williamsburg tennis team. Thomas is now wearing the red and black of the Whitley County Lady Colonels, however, a fact that Coach Halcomb is very excited about.
On the boys’ side, junior Chris Tan will once again be looked at to lead the way after another state championship tournament appearance in 2016. He will be backed up by freshman Reece Halcomb, who showed great promise on the court last spring. “Both have put in a lot of work,” Coach Halcomb said of these two players. “Tennis is their primary sport, so we are expecting big things from both of them this season.”
Obviously, the tennis Colonels will look to be very strong in singles competition again this year, but Coach Halcomb is confident that he will be able to put together some formidable doubles teams as well. Overall, the team currently features a total of 15 girls and nine boys, with the possibility of more joining in before the official start of the season (Thursday, March 9 vs. Pineville).
Looking ahead, Coach Halcomb said, “I really like our schedule. I think it’s one of the better ones that we’ve put together since I’ve been involved with the team. We are going to Tennessee to play in a tournament in mid-March, and we’re trying to get outside the region some throughout the season. We have some really good players, and I feel like they need to see some competition from other regions.”
Everything will lead up to the 13th Region championship tournament, which the Colonels will host on their home court on May 6-8. Halcomb said that he is excited to be hosting the event this year, and he hopes to see several of his players seeded near the top of the region rankings when that time comes.
The 2017 KHSAA state championship tournaments are scheduled to take place May 18-20 in Lexington.