After losing seven seniors who compiled seven individual Cardinal Conference titles, six individual conference runner-up finishes, three individual regional titles, two individual regional runner-up finishes, nine state tournament wins, five trips to the state semifinals, one state runner-up finish, and 468 combined wins, things seemed bleak for the Chapmanville High School tennis program coming into the 2021 season.
The Tigers, however, have made a success story out of a supposed rebuilding year, as the girls’ team, comprised of one senior, two juniors, one sophomore, and two freshmen, closed out their regular season with a 15-1 record, while the boys team, playing undermanned with only four players, one senior, one junior and two sophomores, with only one of them having ever played a high school match before, were able to fight their way to a seven-win season.
The boys team of Dakota Bell, Ethan Smith, David Hunter, and Riley Ferguson, have earned wins this season over River View, twice against Man, Mingo Central, twice against Sherman, and Point Pleasant.
The girls team of Lauren Workman, Jill Blevins, Emma Bryant, Carmen Mahon, Emily Carter and Katarina Curry have knocked off Nitro, River View, Herbert Hoover, Mingo Central, two-time state champion Winfield, Point Pleasant, split with Logan, and swept Man, Sherman, Ravenswood, and perennial state power Huntington St. Joseph.
The Chapmanville and Logan girls sit atop the regional standings as tournament play looms with Logan’s girls claiming the first encounter 4 matches to 3, while the Chapmanville girls won the return match-up 4 matches to 3. Each team has given each other their only regional loss.
Last week, the Lady Tigers defeated Point Pleasant, as top seed Workman won her singles 8-1, #2 seed Blevins was an 8-1 winner, #3 seed Bryant took her match 8-0, and Mahon ran away with the #4 match 8-0. In doubles, the #1 team of Workman and Blevins won 8-1, at #2 Bryant and Mahon were 8-0 winners, and in #3, the undefeated duo of Carter and Curry won 8-2.
For the boys, #1 seed Bell came from behind to post a dramatic 9-7 win, while #3 seed Hunter claimed an 8-4 victory, and Bell and Smith grinded out an 8-5 win.
Against Man, Workman, Blevins, Bryant, Mahon, Carter, Curry, Bell, Smith, Hunter, and Ferguson claimed each match before the girls’ team went to Ravenswood and swept the Red Devils. #1 seed Workman was an 8-1 winner, Blevins dominated her way to an 8-0 win, Bryant claimed an 8-0 decision, as did Mahon in her singles match. In doubles, Workman and Blevins eased their way to an 8-1 win, while Bryant and Mahon and Carter and Curry were 8-0 victors.
At Ritter Park last Saturday, the Lady Tigers took out St. Joe in front of a large crowd there to cheer on the Irish, as Workman gutted out a 9-8 (7-2) decision, Blevins added an 8-2 win to her total, and Bryant controlled her singles match 8-0. In doubles, Workman and Blevins powered their way to an 8-1 win, Bryant and Mahon fought back from 2-5 down to take the last six games and claim an 8-5 victory, while Carter and Curry carved up their opponents 8-0.
The Cardinal Conference tennis tournament will take place this Thursday and Friday at the Logan High School courts starting at 8 a.m. with the girls playing Thursday and the boys on Friday. The following week, the regional tennis tournament will also be held at Logan High School for the right to go to the state tournament from Thursday-Saturday at 8 a.m.