Wayne County's tennis season officially got underway this past week in a

brand new facility which features six asphalt courts fenced in, on the back

side of the school district campus.

The district was able to build the new facility through an offer from

the state's School Facilities Construction Commission (SFCC) that funds

building projects across Kentucky. Fortunately for Wayne County Schools, the

new tennis facility was part of an on-going school improvement building

project that was a continuation of Bell Elementary's gymnasium/building

renovations project. If Wayne County Schools had rejected the offer from the

state, the funding would have been offered to the next school district on a

prioritized list and Wayne County Schools would have lost out on the state

funding.

The courts are also a welcome addition to the community, especially if

additional courts are needed for a tournament being held at the park, for

instance.

"We certainly appreciate the new courts at Wayne County Schools," said

Wayne County Schools Tennis Coach Hardin Phillips. "It is so nice to be

considered an equal amongst all the teams we play in the 12th region (as far

as home facilities.)"

The majority of high schools in the 12th region have at least four home

courts within their district, so Wayne County is pleased to have six courts

that enable more students to play simultaneously, so the meets can hopefully

conclude by dark. Since tennis is played as singles or doubles, it takes

several hours for every student to have an opportunity to play their sets;

therefore it is very advantageous for a school to have multiple courts.

"It's really a nice thing to have six courts," noted Coach Phillips.

Perhaps the new home courts are helping the local team because in their

first week of the official season this past week, both the girl's and the

boy's teams won all three times.

"We're on a roll," said Coach Phillips. "These are the best starts with

our boy's results that we've experienced since the sport was started at

Wayne County."

On March 24, Wayne County played Monticello for the season opening at

the new facility. Wayne County girls won 4-2 and the Wayne County boys won

6-0. On March 25, Wayne County had convincing wins against Madison Southern

girls 9-0 and the boys 4-0.

On Thursday, March 27, Wayne County faced McCreary County at home with

two more victories for their overall record. The Wayne County girls won 9-0

and the hometown boys score was 8-1.

Phillips is proud of the team's record which includes regional

championships for the girls the past two seasons, especially considering the

sport has only been offered for four years at Wayne County Schools. He is

also appreciative of Dave Decker and Pam Neal who have served as assistant

coaches the past couple of years. Rachel Beard, a college tennis player,

assisted last year and Steve Thompson had coached the team in its first two

years.

Phillips' goal for this season is to improve their over all win-loss

record, while focusing on making the boys more competitive throughout the

season. But, even more importantly, the skills students are concentrating on

in school tennis are building a lifetime hobby that they can enjoy in the

future.

In the meantime, Phillips is pleased he has four girls out of six

returning from last year, which makes him optimistic about their chances of

winning the girls region.

"My hopes are being anchored by the Clark sisters, who have been

regional winners for the past two years in a row," said Phillips. "The Clark

girls are my Cadillacs."

Wayne County High School Senior Ceysha Clark was ranked among the top

four girls in the region in singles in the past and she should be very

strong this season since it is her fourth year of tennis. Her sister, Casi,

is a freshman this year and will also be an asset to the team.

The local girls' team will face considerable competition in the 12th

region, according to Phillips. He explained that last year, Boyle County

produced the sixth best girl in singles in the state and Lincoln County had

a girl that was rated in the 9th-16th category in the state.

Phillips was also encouraged last Thursday when his number one ranked

boy's player, Matthew Neal beat a very formidable player for McCreary County

that the local team had never beaten.

Phillips was surprised to get a couple of new players on the team this

year‹Seniors Dylan Hancock and Jordan Steele‹athletes from other sports,

that are newcomers to the game, but have strong athletic ability. Another

asset is Drake Staples who is currently ranked fourth, as well as dedicated

players like Michael Roberts, and Tanner Neal‹who have experienced valuable

tennis training at the University of Kentucky summer tennis camp.

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