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Racketing Toward Regional

A tennis racket and new tennis ball on a freshly painted tennis court

A tennis racket and new tennis ball on a freshly painted tennis court

Margo Eugenio, ENN Staff

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As the points start to tally up, the Lake Ridge Eagle tennis team await anxiously for the final results to be announced. The main officials, after some time, come back with the winning school in mind. “Congratulations to the boys and girls district champs, Lake Ridge High School,” the officials call out. As the words slip off the officials’ tongue, the players and coaches jump up and down in excitement due to not only the team winning both girls and boys district, but the Eagles also advanced passed district and sent a record breaking five teams towards regionals.

A feeling of excitement engulfed the players after learning the extent of their success. Winning the district tournament is a huge accomplishment, as a result, the players and coaches are now looking forward to regionals. Girl’s singles champion who plays by herself, without a partner, Zoe Barton, admits how thrilled she was that she was able to move forward and continue to play the sport.

“Winning district as an individual and a team was a huge accomplishment for me. I am very excited to play in regionals and hopefully my other teammates and I can advance to state,” the junior said.

For sophomore, Cody Allison, relief overcame him after winning the title. He admitted that he felt reassured because it was the one thing the team had been working so hard for all year.

“I felt like a big chip was lifted off our shoulder after we won district because that’s what we had been working for all and we made it happen,” Allison said.

Playing the sport in the heat of the day can cause the players to grow extremely exhausted. Moving forward, however, Coach Peralta, Head Tennis coach, is being very cautious in the drills and practices in an attempt to prevent injuries due to overuse and exhaustion while  still trying to keep the energy up.

“Each week we balance match play practice with live ball drills which are intended to simulate match play situations. Our practices are intended to be energetic, loud and fun. We haven’t changed our practice approach, however we’re being a little more cautious with nagging injuries and fatigue,” said Peralta.

The success would not have come without the coaching and aid of Coach Edward Peralta and Coach Ariel Bueno. The coaches’ assistance extends far beyond the literal sense, they motivated each of their players to continue working hard and persevere through whatever struggle they were facing. Girl’s doubles champion, who plays on the court with a partner, Skylar Stover, says she wouldn’t have made it this far without their help.

“Coach Bueno and Coach Peralta were extremely motivating. They encouraged us to push ourselves to our best, which helped us a lot at the district tournament,” said the junior.

Much like their coaches, the winning players thank their teammates for their encouragement. Stover acknowledges that their support has aided her in her journey to the district tournament and, now, regionals.

“My teammates have helped me to become a district champ through, not only their amazing support, but also their work ethic. Their hard work has motivated me to become a better player,” Stover said.

After accomplishing such an achievement at the district tournament, the Eagles are now moving forward to regionals. Their practice and preparation for the next tournament extends outside the school’s tennis court in order for the players to be as prepared as possible. Barton hopes that her preparation will be enough for her to overcome the competition at regionals and come out a winner.

“As the regionals matches progress, I know the competition will only get harder. I have been training inside and outside of school to make sure I am ready and achieve the best results in regionals that I can. I know it will be tough, but my teammates and I feel ready and hope to get the best results,” said Barton.

As the team moves forward and begins to prepare for regionals, they ramp up their practices and drills. The boys and girls tennis team will play in the regional tournament, in hopes to advance to state, on April 17 and 18 at the Arlington Tennis Center. However, no matter how the team does at regionals, Barton is grateful for the Lake Ridge tennis team.

“I know that no matter how we do, I feel very proud to be apart of this team,” Barton said.

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