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GC, Lady Demons compete at regionals

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By Matt Birkholtz

The Grant County and Williamstown High School tennis programs felt the heat, as they competed in the 8th Region Tennis Tournament May 7 in Frankfort.

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It was a change of weather for the programs from a season ago, about 45 degrees difference, with a blazing sun above them.

For the Lady Braves, it was also a change of momentum for Courtney Ford and Sydney Tencza, as they were paired as doubles instead of being in the singles tournament.

The pair lost to Carroll County’s Meghan Harris and Pooja Patel 2-6, 5-7. In the second set, Ford/Tencza had a 4-2 lead, but were unable to muster enough to force a third set.

Even with the loss, both Ford and Tencza were pleased with their performance.

“I wish we would have played more together as doubles,” Tencza said.

“It was a shock to me how well we played together,” Ford said.

On the boys’ side, Brian Perry had the longest wait time of any of the local tennis players, as he waited from 9 a.m. to about 4:15 p.m. before facing his opponent. The wait was based on his opponent having to finish state testing at North Oldham High School before leaving for the regional meet.

With the wait, coach Corbin Brown was trying to keep everything in focus, reminding Perry that these are going to be some of the toughest players he will be squaring up against.

“Compared to last season, we brought a more competitive team to regionals this year,” Brown said. “The scores don’t show what progress they made, but from last year, we have improved by leaps and bounds.”

Perry lost in two sets 0-6, 0-6 to NOHS’ Hunter McKinlay, but he said he was proud to have been a member of the tennis program his final two years at GCHS.

“I enjoy tennis and I think it is a fun sport,” Perry said. “With it being a new sport, I wanted to give it a try and here I am playing in the regional tournament.”

Now with the season over for GCHS and losing two-thirds of his boys’ team and a quarter of the girls’ team, Brown is set to work on spreading the word about the program.

“I will definitely be out there beating the pavement, by spreading the word,” Brown said. “We have to get the interest for the sport out to the community to let them know we have a tennis program here at GCHS.”

Brown said he hopes to get more middle school students involved, so that the interest begins to grow and the program grows.

For Williamstown, their number one singles player, Sarah Hicks, was unable to get any momentum in her match with Lydia Miller of Frankfort High School, losing 0-6, 0-6, but she was happy with the improvement she made from last season.

“I think we improved this year, we all did,” Hicks said.

Savanna Moss also lost in two sets to Anita Shanker of Western Hills High School, 2-6, 0-6.

“The heat got to me and I get frustrated sometimes in the heat,” Moss said.

In the doubles matches, Rhiannon Brown and Hayley Mullins forced a third set in their match, but were tired from the heat, losing 3-6, 7-5, 0-6.

Julie Fryman and Nicole Geisbers had to wait the longest for Williamstown and Fryman said the heat got to both her Geisbers.

“I think we tried our best,” Fryman said. “I think once we get more familiar with each other by playing more, we will get better and win some matches.”

Lady Demons coach Sean Binder said in regards from one season to the next, that the girls were better improved from last season.

“We did a lot better,” Binder said. “We didn’t win a match, but by watching their serves and returns, the girls looked better.”

With a young core of girls, Binder is having them get more training this summer by attending camps and gaining more experience on the court.

“It helps to continue practicing throughout the summer,” Binder said. “If they can get into these camps and spend a couple of months working on their mechanics, it will be like gaining another season of experience, which will help these girls in the long run.”