Liberty Hill hosts District Tennis Tournament, 4 players advance to Regionals

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By Lance Catchings

The Liberty Hill tennis team wrapped up its regular season April 3 and 4, by hosting the 19-4A District Tournament. Head Coach Brittni Fausett said the entire operation went off without a hitch.

“The district matches went well,” Fausett said. “It was good to host it at home, and I think our kids felt more comfortable playing there. The entire tournament ran super smooth and we had great weather.”

Liberty Hill had four players advance to the 4A Regional Tournament, the first of whom was defending boys’ singles District Champion Henry Madison. The junior repeated as the District Champ for the second year in a row. Madison won his sets 6-0, 6-0; 6-1,6-0; 6-0, 6-1.

“Henry has definitely grown as a player in every aspect, including his performance and attitude,” Fausett said. “I was very proud of the scores he had this week, and no other players were even close to him. He has a great chance to go to State. He has repeated as the District Champ two years in a row now, and that is a great accomplishment.”

In somewhat of a surprise to the rest of the district, sophomore Angie Melendy burst onto the scene and took second place in girls’ singles. Melendy won her sets 6-0,6-1; 6-2, 6-2; 6-3, 6-2. Fausett said it is her hard work on and off the court that has led to her success.

“Last year, she was a junior varsity tennis player and did not win the junior varsity district,” she said. “This year, she will go to Regionals as a sophomore, which is huge. I am really excited for her to continue to play and grow. I can’t tell you how many hours she puts in after practice and on the weekends, but her hard work is paying off. She gets better every time she steps on the court.”

Last season, the mixed doubles team of Gunnar Ortega and Kennedy Coleman made a 4A State Tournament appearance, so the expectations were set high for the duo. They won their first sets 6-0, 6-0; 6-2, 6-1, but lost to Lampasas in three sets 6-7, 7-6, 6-7 to take second in district.

Coleman said she was proud of the way her team performed over the course of the season.

“Coming in to this season, we felt pretty excited,” Coleman said. “Last year, we ended up moving on from Regionals to State, so we are hoping for the same thing this year. The season was good this year. We did not win a whole lot, but that is because we were playing in big tournaments against some high-caliber competition.”

Coleman said she preferred the tougher competition the team faced in 2018.

“It was nice playing in the larger conference tournaments,” she said. “In the past, we have played smaller tournaments, and some of the schools don’t really have teams, so you end up not playing that much. It was nice to play people that were good at tennis and could compete.”

As the team prepares for Regionals, they are focused on maximizing their potential.

“We just want to play our best at Regionals and hope it goes well for us,” Coleman said. “I am proud of all my teammates that played so well at district this week.”

Fausett was also extremely proud of all of her athletes that competed, but did not advance.

“Our girls’ doubles of team Hannah Crow and McKenzie Wukasch got fourth place,” Fausett said. “They did very well for not even playing a year together. Our boys’ doubles team of Chris Neill and Nathan Karr lost in the first round. Tyler Franklin and Sophie Stafford got fourth in mixed doubles, but they are a very young team, as well.”

Fausett is very proud of the overall state of the program and the future of where it’s headed.

“I think all of our players have progressed this year,” she said. “They have gotten more confident and improved. I am excited to take these four players to Regionals and see where they go. Kennedy and Gunnar made it to State last year in mixed doubles, so we hope to see that again. I am not sure what girls’ singles looks like, because we didn’t have any last year, but there will be some great tennis for Angie there. I am proud of all of our players and the season they put forth. I know they work hard and put in everything they can. I feel lucky to be their coach.”

The Regional Tournament will be held April 18-19 at Bryan High School in College Station.

Lance@LHIndependent.com

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