The Titans (15-0) continued a perfect season with a victory over Graham in the region final, and now have their sights set on another preseason goal – winning a state championship at the AA Sports Jubilee in Radford.
The Titan girls play a semifinal match Friday morning against Spotswood, with the finals slated for Virginia Tech, Saturday at 1:00 pm. (Meanwhile the Hidden Valley boys, coached by Ryan Teague, have their own Friday morning showdown with Harrisonburg in the semis.)
“The girls weren’t happy with getting to the states and losing last year – they want to do better,” girls Head Coach Tommy George said. “They’re a great group – very motivated – and they have all worked hard to accomplish that goal.”
After steamrolling through the competitive River Ridge District – “one of the strongest around,” according to George – the Titans easily dispatched of Graham (from Bluefield) in the region title match, winning each of the first five singles matches to earn their second straight Region IV crown.
Hidden Valley is led by sophomore Kristin Harter, the team’s undefeated No. 1 singles player and River Ridge player of the year. Only a sophomore, Harter (18-0) has already captured the district and region singles and doubles titles, a year after advancing all the way to the state singles championship match as a freshman.
“She is awfully dedicated,” George said of his star player. “She is very consistent, very smart, and obviously has a bright future.”
The other members of the team certainly are no slouches, either. Senior co-captain Whitney Walton, the team’s No. 2 singles player, and Harter’s partner in doubles, is also undefeated (16-0) in doubles competition. And the team’s No. 3 singles competitor, Mary Kathryn Newton, was a 2nd Team All-District performer, with an 11-2 mark in singles matches to go with a 10-1 record in doubles.
The Titans begin their quest for the state title with three different quarterfinal matches. In the singles bracket, Harter will face Carla Wong from Freedom High School in northern Virginia. In the doubles bracket, Harter and Walton will face the No.1 team from Jamestown, and in the team bracket, the Titans will face Spotswood High School.
The AA tennis championships will take place (primarily) at Radford University, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“I’m really confident in our team’s ability, and I like our chances, though it’s going to be tough,” George said.
Editor’s note: The Hidden Valley boys tennis team also captured the Region IV championship by knocking off Graham High School and now heads to Radford.