Tigers tennis season ends
Tuesday, 08 May 2012 by Chuck Kelly
The Belton High school tennis season is officially over now.
After the boys' runner-up finish behind A&M Consolidated and the girls' third place finish behind Consolidated and Copperas Cove at the District 12-5A meet, the Tigers advanced a trio to the Region II Meet.
Sophomore Jacob Daugherty competed in the Boys Singles and the team of senior Daniel Barron and junior Ryan Jones played in the Boys Doubles event. The competition was awesome and the Tigers fell in the first round.
Two Belton doubles teams were regional alternates --- senior Jordi Alfeche and freshman Mayra Perez in Mixed Doubles and Jessica Grogan and Krista Harvey, both seniors, were Girls Doubles alternates.
It was an impressive year for Tiger Tennis as evidenced by the fact that second-year head coach Kyle Larson was voted District Tennis Coach of the Year.
At the regionals, Barron and Jones took on a pretty tough team from Tyler Lee. The Tigers took Lee to a tie-breaker in the first set but lost. They had a bit of trouble shaking it off, a little hard time regrouping in the second set and fell 6-3. Barron is a senior and this was his second year in a row to go to regionals. "I'm proud of Daniel and Ryan," Larson stated. "They really battled hard."
Daugherty had a tough draw, too. "We tried to get Jacob the seed that the guy he actually later played but he didn't get the votes for it. Later, they drew out of a bag and believe it or not, he drew that same kid to play in the first round and things just didn't work out well," said Larson.
The coach was optimistic about his still very young singles player.
"I told him...'I know that you've played tons of tournaments, you play all the time....but there's just something about when you get to this level. You're still 16 and nerves kick in regardless of how much you've played.'
"He started out good and took the first set and I believe he started thinking about 'I'm winning and I have to do this and that' and it kind of got to him a bit. The other guy jumped on that and ended up winning the match. I was proud of his actions on the court. He stayed composed and tried to battle back but things just didn't roll his way."
Both the singles and doubles matches drew a large crowd of spectators as they were both very competitive and exciting. Larson said that he was very proud of his players and how they represented Belton and kept their composure through the matches. "They fought hard and left it all out on the court" is the way he put it.
Larson said that he's proud of his entire team and how they have played this year. "They have gelled as a team, endured a lot and grown so much as individuals," the coach commented.
Tiger tennis will lose seven players to graduation --- Alfeche, Samantha Alvarez, Barron, Philip Cesani, Grogan, Harvey and Kaila Martin.
"Yeah, we're losing some people who have contributed to the team in very important roles. We're going to miss them a lot....their abilities and their leadership roles. I've enjoyed them all. They've all been around since I've been here....as an assistant or whatever.....and I'm going to miss them. They're a great group of kids."
Larson is very optimistic about the tennis program though. All of the current juniors will be seniors next season and will step up to fill some big shoes. They seem excited about the prospect.
Also, there is some good young talent coming up from the middle schools. Some are younger siblings of players already on varsity. Some may step right in and others may need a little seasoning.
"We'll see how it works out," said Larson optimistically. "We have a lot of talent there." And that talent will be under the watchful eyes and tutelage of the District 12-5A Coach of the Year!