CMS tennis team closes out with win at Coonskin Park
by Paul Adkins
It was a successful ending for the Chapmanville Middle School tennis team which beat Edison, Blennerhassett, Ripley and Logan Middle School over the weekend to win a season ending tournament at Coonskin Park in Charleston.
For the season the CMS girls finished 14-1 while the boys went 11-4.
Over a three-year span the Chapmanville girls team amassed a 31-5 record and the boys have gone 23-13. Chapmanville won two county championships, won the Black Diamond Conference title this season, and won its first season ending tournament.
CMS coach Chris Kidd said he was extremely proud of his team.
“We were really excited to have this tournament this year,” Kidd said. “The first two years we didn’t have anything at the end of the year, but thankfully these 10 eighth-graders had the chance to compete in a tournament. I wanted them to experience this type of atmosphere before they moved on to high school and to get to do it at Coonskin Park where they play the state tournament was a great opportunity and great setting. They had a great time and performed really well on such a big stage.”
Coach Kidd said it was a good event.
“It was extremely competitive,” he said. “Logan made several finals and Edison was really tough to play. They are from the Parkersburg region which is one of the toughest regions in the state to play against. Parkersburg, Charleston and Huntington are the three best areas in the state for tennis and we beat teams from all three this year. The team title literally came down to the final match between us and Edison. They won 20 matches and so had we and Myla (Bryant) and Hali (Baldwin), who are two of my eighth-graders and been reliable all year long won their doubles match 6-3. I didn’t tell them the situation because I didn’t want to make them nervous, but they played a great match against a great team and we had so many kids pull through in tough situations. It’s so hard to watch them play because every point has so much importance to it. Anyone who wonders about nerves in sports, watch someone you care about play an important tennis match.
“You will lose your mind. There’s no one to pass the ball to, there’s no one else to take the shot, it’s just you out there. And time and time again this group of kids have pulled through and gotten the job done.”
Chapmanville Middle will have to rebuild its tennis team next year as 10 out of 13 players will be moving up to ninth grade and the Chapmanville Regional High School team.
“Losing 10 of your 13 players is extremely tough for any program and it’s something we are going to have to bounce back from,” Coach Kidd said. “But I’m hoping the excitement is there with the younger kids and I think it is. I believe we will be able to rebuild. We have so much fun and I want that to continue and I want to give new kids a love for this sport. But I do want to say I can never replace what these eighth-graders and my previous eighth-graders have given me and this program. Kids like Haley Justice and Julie Smith have moved on to play in high school successfully so far. Haley was one match away from the state tournament last year. Also, players like Lasya Pidaparthi, Rebecca McKinney, Colton Townsend and Austin Evans will move up and play this spring. Riki Workman is back at Logan and she’ll begin playing this spring.”
Kidd said several of his players made big contributions to the team this fall.
“Hollie Carter was someone who gave us two great years and showed how great of an athlete she is by being so good at three different sports,” he said. “But I had eight kids who were with me from the start and I’ve grown very close to. Cassidy Lewis, Abby Marcum, Hali Baldwin, Myla Bryant, Sara Lambert, Samantha Williams, Richelle Thompson and Brycen Kuenzel are like my kids at this point. I love these eight and all of my kids I’ve coached and I think they all have such a bright future in this sport if they continue to work.”
Coach Kidd said his players will do fine at the high school level if they continue to work hard.
“I think over the next four years this group and the group that has moved up already have a chance to make a serious run at some state tournaments,” he said. “But even if they don’t I can’t say how impressed I am with them as students and people. They are leaders in their school and I know they’ll continue that in high school. I love that they’ve had success in tennis, but I care more about the people they become and how they treat others. The best compliments I ever had weren’t when we won matches, but when other coaches and parents would say how behaved and polite my kids were. That’s a reflection on their parents as well. I had the best parents anyone could ask for.
“For three years they offered to help with fundraisers, take team pictures, come to concession stand work, and help transport kids to matches even though they had to spend their own money on gas and food. I’ll never be able to thank them enough for what they’ve done for the kids and me to make this program successful.”
Coach Kidd said he is glad that he took on the job as the CMS tennis coach three years ago.
“It’s funny how things work in life,” he said. “Three years ago I was asked to take this job. Jack Bailey, who used to coach Logan Middle School, must have asked me to take the team a dozen times and each time I turned him down. I remember I didn’t want it and had no ambition to do it, but Jack kept saying ‘yeah I know, but you’re still going to do it, right?’ He finally wore me down and I’m glad every day that he was as persistent as he was with me. Jack is a wonderful man and cares as much about the kids in this county as anyone I’ve ever met and I hope to be as good of an example as he is one day. But he gave me a chance to find a love for something I never thought I would love. Coaching wasn’t anything I had on my list of life goals, but these three years are something I would never replace for anything. If I could rewind it all and do it all again with these kids I would in a heartbeat.”
Chapmanville’s Cassidy Lewis won the No. 1 singles title with a 6-4 win over a player from Edison after trailing 4-1.
In the No. 2, Chapmanville’s Abby Marcum lost 6-1 in the finals.
Edison downed Logan Middle School’s Hailey Owsley 6-0 in the No. 3 singles final.
In the No. 4 girls’ singles, the Lady Tigers’ Myla Bryant was a 6-0 winner over Edison.
Chapmanville’s Richelle Thompson won 6-0 over Edison in the No. 5 singles.
In the No. 6 singles, Chapmanville’s Sara Lambert toppled Logan’s Autumn Stinnett 6-0.
In girls’ doubles action, Lewis and Marcum of Chapmanville lost 6-3 in the finals to Edison.
Chapmanville’s Hali Baldwin and Bryant beat Edison 6-3 in the No. 2 doubles.
Thompson and Samantha Williams of the Lady Tigers then beat Logan’s Raeanne Reed and Autumn Stinnett in the No, 3 doubles by a 6-0 score.
On the boys’ side, Edison downed Chapmanville’s Brycen Kuenzel, 6-2, in the No. 1 singles title match.
In the No. 2, Chapmanville’s Austin Hanshaw won 6-3 over Edison.
Logan’s Cameron Adkins lost 6-2 to Edison in the No. 3 singles.
Chapmanville’s Kuenzel and Hanshaw lost 6-1 to Edison in the No. 1 boys’ doubles final.
Edison deafeated Logan’s Adkins and Garrett 7-6 (7-5) in the championship match of the No. 2 doubles.
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