Chapman tennis clinches upper state for third year in a row

Lady Panthers Tennis Clinches Upper State for the Third Year in a Row

On Tuesday, Oct. 27, Chapman girls tennis faced their top region rival, Clinton High School, for the Upper State Championship match.

The result? No different from the two previous matches.

Once again, Clinton gained an early lead at number five singles and number two doubles, with Gracie Spangler, Kimora Wesley, and Gracie Wiggins defeating freshman Madeleine Williams, freshman Norah Carroll, and senior Trista Ryan, respectively. However, Chapman quickly evened the score at 2-2 when juniors Elizabeth Williams and Alex Kinlaw won solidly against their respective opponents at numbers two and three singles.

At this point in the match, numbers one and four singles were still on the court, both locked in very tight matches. Two losses from either side would decide the victor.

Sophomore Juliana Coates lost a tight first set, but came fighting back in the second set and deciding tiebreaker to defeat Reese Gowan 4-6, 6-3, 10-5.

Nearly simultaneously, eighth-grader Westlyn Morris, the top seed for the Lady Panthers, lost the first set 2-6, but came back from behind to defeat Mary Catherine Dailey 2-6, 7-5, 15-13. Morris believes the key to her victory was confidence.

“I really calmed down and focused on my shots in the second set,” Morris said. “I slowly gained confidence over the course of the second set and the tiebreaker. I just imagined playing my sister because it really motivates me.”

What most people don’t know about the Chapman girls tennis team is that the majority of the players all started playing together when they were younger. The top five starters all began their tennis careers under the same coach before going their separate ways. Morris has especially enjoyed reconnecting with the other players during her past two years on the team.

“I started tennis with the top five players on the team,” Morris said. “It’s been a great experience to come back together as a team since we all go to different places now.”