Madison competes at State Tourney
By Lance Catchings
Junior Henry Madison has turned in an excellent junior tennis campaign this season. Madison was the District 19-4A champion, the regional champion and earned a berth to the State Tennis Tournament held in College Station May 17-18. Due to UIL scheduling, tennis players had to wait almost three weeks after the regional tournament before going to state so there was plenty of time to prepare.
“After the regional tournament I took a couple days off to get back to normal and then got back to work,” Madison said.
“I practiced until 4:30 p.m. after school and then went to outside practice after that. I played two warm up matches before the state tournament to try and stay sharp. One was against the 3A state champion and one against the third place finisher in our region this season.”
Madison said the practices were tough, but he knew they would prove beneficial.
“I did practice hard but it had already been a long year,” he said.
“Practicing a whole extra month between regionals and state was a lot, but I knew I had to keep going. The intensity was a little bit higher but I got things critiqued that I needed help with. Gunnar Ortega came out to help me practice so I could have an opponent to go against.”
Upon arrival to College Station for the tournament is when the pre-game jitters finally surfaced.
“I didn’t get nervous until I actually got to College Station,” he said.
“I absolutely loved the atmosphere and going to the State Tournament. There were so many people there who support the sport. Many don’t even play but just go to have fun and watch. It’s a great time watching great players and to be a part of that was awesome.”
Madison lost in the quarterfinal round to a player from Sweeny 7-5, 7-6, 7-5 to end his season.
“I was disappointed in the way I played in the quarterfinals because I didn’t play as well as I could have,” he said.
“I led 5-4 in the first set and lost 7-5, which was really heartbreaking. I was up 5-3 in the second set and lost 6-7 and 7-5 in the tiebreaker. I wasn’t happy with how I played and I don’t know if it was because of nerves or just an off day. It’s something I am still a little angry about, but it is all about the experience.”
Despite the loss, Madison had one of the best Liberty Hill tennis seasons to date and still has another year to improve. He is already looking forward to getting back into a practice regimen for next season.
“How I felt after the loss I am looking forward to start practicing again as soon as I can,” he said.
“I know it is going to be a long summer. After such a depressing end to the season I will be ready to get back to work soon. I felt was definitely capable on a better day. It was hard to finish the season in such a tough way.”
Madison stayed to watch the remainder of the tournament after being eliminated and that will help feed his desire going into next season.
“I stayed to watch the rest of the tournament and it just heightened my drive to want to become a champion,” he said.
“It was a hard way to lose after being up and to go home with no medal and nothing to say was tough for me. The loss will drive me even more as I head into my senior year.”
As a student-athlete sometimes players can be tough on themselves, but head coach Brittni Fausett was happy for him and the season he completed.
“Henry did great preparing for state,” Fausett said.
“A whole month is a lot of time off between regionals and state. Overall he did a good job and practiced a lot. I think he was very well prepared heading into the tournament.”
Fausett believes Madison played hard, but sometimes things don’t end the way we hope.
“I think he was a little nervous and some shots just weren’t working,” she said.
“It was a very tight match and he fought hard for every single point, but he just couldn’t put away the points he needed to finish it off.”
She is looking forward to coaching him next season and seeing what he can accomplish.
“I am very excited for next season and I think great things are in store for tennis,” she said.
“I think it’ll be a tough season with the new region we’ll be in, but I think a second year at the state tournament is doable for him. He’s going to have to practice all summer and work hard in the fall and spring tournaments to get there but he has the ability.”
With another year coaching him and another year to improve it is likely Madison will be making his second appearance at state this time next year.