By Kyle Lovern
The Mingo Central Men’s and Ladies’ tennis teams, in their inaugural Cardinal Conference tennis tourney, both garnered the runner-up trophy.
“I am always proud of my team, but this was special. They found out how talented they are against some of the strongest teams in their region,” said head coach Julius “Boo” Hatcher.
The teams played at two different locations. The girls were at Scott and the boys played at Chapmanville.
“We were receiving updates from one another, we knew the night was going to be special,” Hatcher said.
The No. 2 seed girl’s player Maria Ramey beat Sravya Pidaparthi of Chapmanville 8-3 to capture first place. The No. 3 seed singles Kaitlyn Johnson and No. 4 singles seed Megan Taylor were each runner-ups, losing to Chapmanville.
The No. 3 girl’s doubles duo of Johnson and Ariel Ritchie lost in the finals to Chapmanville, finishing in second place.
“We played in 4 of the 7 championship matches; getting 2 players to the semi-finals,” Hatcher said. “The best match of the night on the girl’s side was a loss by the No. 1 doubles team Emily Hatfield and Ramey.
“I would have paid to watch both teams (Mingo Central and Chapmanville). It was an awesome match. Taylor Blevins and Ariel Ritchie played their best tennis of the season. I was so proud of them and the entire team,” Hatcher added.
On the boys side, No.1 seed Julius Hatcher defeated Chapmanville’s No.1 single’s player Max Spradlin 9- 7. This was a huge win for Julius, (son of Coach Hatcher); he had lost twice to Spradlin and was down 3 match points on Max’s serve.
“Julius told me he wanted it. This was a match everyone watched. The two kids played hard back and forth tennis,” Hatcher said.
Julius lost to Starkey from Scott to receive runner-up in the singles competition.
The No. 2 single’s seed, Kyle Surber, lost in his championship match to Chambers of Scott. “Kyle is playing very well and will be hungry to play Chambers again in Regionals,” Hatcher said.
The double-double was received by No. 4 seed Brennon Sloan. He won his singles and the No. 2 doubles seed with his teammate Dakota Rawls.
“Rawls and Sloan have been wanting to put it all together all season. They did and they won. Sloan, the No. 3 singles, like Julius, was down and fought his way back to win. Brennon is starting to know he can beat anyone - I’m so proud of this kid, Coach Hatcher said.
Joey Wellman and Steven Clark played very well in their match. The men’s team played in 4 of 7 championship matches.
“This will help our team going into regional tournament on Friday and Saturday. Mingo Central fans need to come to Charleston and watch this team play hard and represent Mingo Central on Friday,” Hatcher concluded.
(Kyle Lovern is the Sports Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-235-4242, ext. 33 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)