Did somebody say tennis? Word is that some people don’t even know about the tennis team here at Ripley High. Yes, we do have a team and we have a bunch of awesome students who are a part of it. So far, they have won against Spring Valley and Parkersburg South as a team.
Senior Caleb Bailey and sophomore Lauren Roush are the top seeds for the girls and the boys’ team. Each player is ranked by a system called seeding and it is to separate each player and list from the strongest to the weakest. Every match we have, the coaches will split us up with the matching seeds from the other team and we play against our own seed in order to set up our seeding chart before we play any matches.
There are 18 players. They play doubles first then split up into singles and play against the same seeds from the other team. A match can take quite long depending on the number of players or number of courts and how many games they play per match. Usually, the total number of hours is about two or three hours for the whole team to finish all their games.
“Each match I play is different; different player, different abilities. Since it is an independent sport, I cannot rely on my teammates to help me win a match,” said senior Caleb Bailey.
“It can be mentally challenging sometimes but I have learned that I play best when I am having fun and not worrying about winning.”
The team has two coaches, Melissa Scarberry and Dwayne Merritt. They both enjoy coaching the kids and encouraging them to have fun.
“Hard work, patience, and dedication is key,” said Coach Scarberry.
The players have played a quite few home matches with Huntington, Spring Valley, Cabell Midland, and Parkersburg so far. As well as their away matches, they have played against Parkersburg, Herbert Hoover, Spring Valley and Huntington.
“I enjoy traveling to away matches because it gives us the opportunity to hang out as a team. Away matches are honestly a lot of fun,” said senior Brooke Hatcher.
The tennis court at Ripley Park has been upgraded to a new blue court that has a lot more room for the team to enjoy and practice. They also use it for home matches.
“My decision to play tennis was to give me something to enjoy and it’s the only sport I’ve ever played as an extracurricular activity. I also love to play with the rest of the team. I’ve played tennis for seven years now and I still love it to this day.” said freshman Annie Pierson .
They will have a home match against Parkersburg South today, Tuesday, April 16th at 4:30. They also have a home match Thursday, April 18 at 4 against Ravenswood.
“Caleb Bailey qualified and made it to states last year, 2018. As far as before then, I'm unsure because this is only my 2nd year coaching Ripley HS. I am hopeful that we will have some qualifiers this year. If we practice like we're in a match every day, then I have no doubt that we have the talent to get there.” said Coach Scarberry.
As much as we would love for the team to go to states, we can encourage them to do their best and see how it goes from here!