By Kendall Patterson
The Chester County Boys Tennis Team came up short in the state tournament and lost 4-2 to Gatlinburg-Pittman High School.
Clayton Austin won his match 2-0 making him the first CCHS tennis player to win a state tournament tennis match. Following him was Eads who won 2-0.
Ethan Mullins and Carter Welch ended up losing 0-2.
At the end of singles in a tie-breaker, Nathan Britt lost his match.
Therefore, CCHS was down 3-2 going into doubles.
Right before the doubles matches started, the boys were cooled down by a long break as the matches transitioned to indoors. Unfortunately, they lost a doubles match 8-4 which ended the season.
Later in the week, doubles team Britt and Mullins lost their first match 8-5 in one set that was supposed to be three, but was cut to one due to weather conditions.
Though they lost, it does not undermine the spectacular year they had. Up until that game, the boys were undefeated and made Chester County history by being the first tennis team to make it to the state tournament. Then, since they made it to state, they were one of the top four teams this year.
Coaches Mike Showers and Debbie Hames said that they could not be more proud of the team.
“We played against them well. If we played them again, I really think we could have beaten them as a team. I was very proud of them. They tried as hard as they could. They just did not have it that day. The other team was just a little bit better. We could not have asked for a better season. They knew they had something special. They knew that every boy on that team was, especially the top five, was capable of going out there and being in any position they could be in and handle it well. I could not have asked for a better team. It’s the most solid that we’ve had so far in all the years that I’ve been coaching. I hate that we fell short but we’re still learning. The year was fantastic. There were no regrets. They left it all out there,” Hames said.
“This was a group that met and exceeded their expectations. We set a goal at the beginning of the season to make it to state as a team. That was our number one goal. And getting there and doing it in the manner that we did winning 7-0 in pretty much all of our matches was not part of the goal but it was nice as a coach to not have to sweat a lot of matches. Ethan has been a great linchpin coming in and playing that first seed and going undefeated as first seed… And with Nathan, I knew when we were in the Adamsviille tournament last fall when we first started playing I was like ‘Holy Cow. We may have something here.’” Showers said.
This year also had great support from new additions to the team which include Austin Ketchum and Zane Bolton.
“Austin has been a great addition, and he’ll be a force to reckon with next year. I wish Zane Bolton (now a CCHS graduate) started playing when he was a freshman, because he would have been a top player in the state if he started as a freshman,” Showers said.
Then Showers stated how the leadership in Eads and Welch will be missed.
“We had Evan and Carter and I never had two leaders like that. Just two with the kindness and desire to, even in defeat, encouraging. That’s going to be the biggest loss next year. Not their game, but their leadership,” Showers said.
The future seems to still be bright as team leadership will be left in the hands of Britt and Mullins. The rising seniors are already making plans to improve next year Hames said.
“Ethan and Nathan, they’re already figuring out ways to come back and do better next year. We’re still positive. I think we have a good chance now that we know what it’s all about and what we need to do,” Hames said.
Britt and Mullins expressed how they were proud of the team this year and hope the success continues next year.
“I’m just really proud of us this season. I’m really proud of the way we played. I’m proud of the leadership of this team. Carter and Eads really stepped up this year and brought us this far and I just hope we can carry it on into next season… I just hope we can continue the progress we made this year and take it even further next year. ” Britt said.
“This is one of the most special seasons we’ve had, and I’m sure it’s going to be one of the most special season we’re going to have. My senior year is going to be good, but it’s going to be nothing like this team now… But I’m hopeful for this team next year. We have a good chance,” Mullins said.