Tennis places third in 4A and 5A tournament

Samantha Wendt, Sports Editor


Year after year, the Leopard tennis team has developed into a dominant 3A squad. This year is no different, with the team’s success in the Abilene Invitation surprising tournament directors and several of the schools participating in the tournament. After the seeding meeting, the Leopards emerged without a seed, leading assistant coach Will Davis to believe the tournament directors did not expect the Leopards to do well.

“They [tournament directors] expected us to, at best, lose second round to San Angelo Central,” assistant coach Will Davis said. “Honestly, I don’t think they even expected us to play San Angelo Central though.”

The results also surprised several players on the team.

“We did a lot better than I expected, because I knew a lot of really good 5A schools would be there even though we have a really good team this year,” freshman Anne Reyna said.

Out of 16 teams, including the top 5A teams in the state, the Leopards placed fourth.

“We beat Lubbock High first round, who was ranked top 20 in the state for 5A. Second round, San Angelo Central, last year was ranked 7th in the state for 5A,” Davis said. “Those were two huge wins for us, since they have super champs 1-4 on both sides pretty much.”

Rival 3A team, Abilene Wylie, gave the Leopards their first loss of the year in the third round.

“We were right there with Abilene Wylie in doubles,” Davis said. “We had the opportunity to go up after doubles 5-2, but we lost a couple close tiebreakers and ended up going down 4-3.”

Although the team ended up losing its fourth round match to Lubbock Coronado, the results from that match, in addition to the results from the rest of the tournament, improved the team’s state ranking.

“Because of the results from that tournament, we moved up to second in the state. We lost to Lubbock Coronado 10-4, and Lindale lost to them 13-1,” Davis said.

Lindale was formerly second in the state, but with the Leopards faring better against Lubbock Coronado than Lindale did, the Leopards moved up in the rankings.

The team got another boost over Lindale, after beating Van 16-3.

“We definitely backed up that number 2 ranking,” head coach Adam Cherry said. “Number 3 ranked Lindale beat Van 12-7 earlier this fall so the lopsided score line gives us great seeding information for the future.”

Not only has the team been successful in tournaments, but also in dual matches. Against Argyle, senior Alex Brown beat Zach Santagate, 2011 3A Boys Singles State Champion.

“Winning that match was exhilarating,” Brown said. “I felt like I was on top of the world.”

In a three set match, Brown pulled out the win in a third set tiebreaker, 4-6, 6-0, 12-10.

“The first set started off a little rough, then I swept the floor with him in the second set,” Brown said. “I was down quadruple match point in the tiebreaker, and came back to win it.”

The match played a huge factor in Brown’s decision to play singles during individual season this spring.

“Beating the number one player in state has given me high expectations for individuals this year,” Brown said.

The accomplishments the team has already amassed, collectively and individually, are nice, but a state championship can not be won in October.

“As much success as we’ve had, I don’t want us to be complacent. We still need to continue to work hard,” Cherry said. “For us to be able to beat Abilene Wylie we still need to get faster, stronger, and quicker.”