PARKERSBURG – Mingo Central tennis player Kyle Surber made history on Friday with his play in the regional tournament at Parkersburg by advancing to the state tournament. He becomes the first tennis player from the new consolidated school to make it to the state tourney.
“The singles matches were ones that we came away with one player going to the state,” said coach Julius “Boo” Hatcher. “Honestly, it could have been three or four that made it. We played very well against players who have been playing since ages 4 and 5 years old.” “The coaches who had not played us before were amazed that we are so young, and don’t have courts to play on,” Hatcher added. “Emily Hatfield, Maria Ramey, and Megan Taylor played very well on the girls’ side of singles, while Taylor Blevins retired due to injury.”
The boys showed how far Mingo Central tennis has come in just its second year with No. 2 seeded player, Surber, qualifying for the state tourney.
“Julius Hatcher, Brennan Sloan, and Crum played well enough to almost get to semi-finals. I am proud of this team, we just need courts to play on.”
“These kids told me that we were going to the states – I said, ‘I know.’ They are awesome kids and students. Kyle was down in his quarter finals 3-to-6 and on the change-over we talked about the mind and strategy. He never looked back winning 9-to-7, then losing to Charleston Catholic Love-8, but he bounced back with an 8-2 win over Scott to make it to the state tournament,” a proud coach Hatcher said.
“This squad played with heart and with pride. I was so proud of them. Our last two practices really helped our hitting and our footwork on the court. We really need courts in which to practice and play,” Hatcher said.
“The teams that had beaten us early in the season – handily - we either beat them or were in a hard fought match. The girls and boys all reached quarter finals in their doubles matches, but didn’t advance any further. I was especially impressed with my number three doubles in both boys and girls. Micah Muncy and Dakota Rawls almost pulled off the biggest upset with an 5-8 loss to Poca. They really played a great match. It could have gone our way, we double faulted a few games, that made a difference,” Hatcher explained.
“On the girl’s doubles side, Ariel Ritchie and Kaitlyn Johnson, which are both freshmen, were a little nervous because of the atmosphere. They played a Chapmanville team that had previously beaten them Love-8 in regular season. They lost a match 3-to-8, but the score doesn’t show how hard the match was played,” Hatcher said. “They played an awesome match.”
“We are very young and talented. I am so very proud of them,” Hatcher concluded.