The Wayne County High School tennis team is on the home-stretch of 

another successful season, as they prepare to go into regional 

competition. The boys' team is undefeated with an impressive 9-0 record.

    The girls' team is in a rebuilding year as most of the roster comes 

from first-year players who are in the eighth and ninth grade. They 

have experienced some individual winning matches during the season, 

but are still developing skills.

    Both girls and boys advance to regional competition which begins 

Friday, May 2 at 9 a.m. on the Berea College Campus. If the Cardinals 

advance, they will play in the second round on Saturday, May 3. The 

finals will be held on Monday, May 5.

    The Cardinal boys have beaten both district opponents and the top 

teams in the 12th region, so they have the opportunity to possibly 

bring home the regional tennis title. Their most formidable opponents 

at the end of the season were probably against Casey County in a home 

meet where the boys won 8-1. That impressive win was duplicated on 

the road at another tough competition at Pulaski County when the 

Cardinals once again won 8-1. In the final regular season meet with 

Berea, the boys won at home 6-3.

    "We beat Casey County the worst we ever had 8-1," said tennis head 

coach Don Neal. "They only got one match, which was quite an 

accomplishment for our team. Last year we beat them, but it was a lot 

closer."

    Going into the region, Corbin Kirksey is the second rated player in 

the region. Juniors Carson Staples, Matthew Gregory and Clayton 

Cooper have done an excellent job for the boys this season. Junior 

Kinley Weaver and senior Katie McFarland are looked upon as stand 

outs for the girl players.

    Coach Neal said when they played McCreary County during the season, 

two of the top players—Corbin Kirksey and Matthew Gregory—were not 

there, but he was very proud of Mason Coffey because he stepped up 

and filled the void. "I told him he was the man of the hour" at that 

meet.

    The teams practice a lot after school during the season, but some of 

the players continue on in leagues over the summer. Neal said many of 

his players are very conscientious about the game. "It's good to see 

kids so enthusiastic about something."

    The Wayne County tennis program has been in the developing stages 

for the past several years, so it is nice to see the seeds that have 

been planted beginning to grow.

    The boys were undefeated in the region last year.

    "We're a winning program," said Coach Neal. "We're laid back and we 

have fun, but we win."

    Their past record includes a girl winning the regional singles and 

the boys team winning region in doubles last year.

    This year they are hoping the boys team will go all the way to state 

which is held in Lexington.

    "The one honor that has evaded us is the team trophy," where the 

girls and boys team scores are counted together, explained Neal. He 

is optimistic that next year could be the year for picking up that 

award.

    The 32-member team is benefiting from their involvement with tennis, 

which is considered a lifetime sport that can be played individually.

    Neal is assisted by Charles Kirksey and Hinkie Eads, who have been a 

great asset to the team for several years.

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