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Tennis wants to continue winning legacy

Back Row L-R: Asst Coach Tim Tugman, Landell Walker, Faith Dowell, Ashlee Williams, Sarah Rider, Stephanie Knight, Ryleigh Icenhour, Shawna Arnold, Hailey Rider, Kaylee Williams, Savannah Dowell, Grinnan Walker, Coach Zach Pittman. Front Row L-R: Will Stoia, Ciara Cranford, Sami Csillag, Skylar Feltner, Marley Townsend, Jackson Clifton 
Not Pictured: Gabe Burtt-Henderson, Paiten Carroll. Photo by Joey Icenhour

By Beth Cox
Sports Writer

Coach Zach Pittman has taken the girls’ tennis team to state three years in a row and is looking forward to doing the same this year.
“I am ready to jump back into the season,” he said. “I feel we are building a tradition of excellence here in girls’ tennis. We have won our conference four years in a row and sent a girls’ double team to state for the past three years. With our girls’ team’s maturity and work ethic, I see the same this year even though the conference is tougher.”
The girls’ tennis team has strong leadership and experience this year. Ashlee and Kaylee Williams have played all four years and have shown a lot of improvement.
Hailey Rider, along with Rhiannon Icenhour, went to the semi-finals at state last year, so having her back will put the Lady Horns in good shape for tennis.
Rider’s younger sibling, Sarah, joins her sister on the tennis court for the season. Sarah put down her softball glove, picked up a tennis racket, and has loved it ever since. The Rider sisters hope to play as doubles partners this year, so all four sisters have one goal this year; they expect to go to state and win the championship.
The boys’ tennis team may not be as strong as the girls’ team, but Pittman is encouraged by the many boys who turned out to play.
“I am just hoping to get all of these young guys loving the game of tennis,” Pitman said. “With all the young players we have, this could be a big-time building year for us.”
When asked what motivates Pittman as a coach, he said, “It’s simple. It’s our trophy case. Over the past five years, we have had a lot of success. These players want to continue that legacy.”
Pittman knows this year might be a little more challenging and concluded, “We will have to buckle down extra hard this year and focus on winning some tough matches.”