The Bullard Middle School Panther tennis program experienced a high level of success during the Spring 2017 tennis season, as both the boys and girls teams, as well as several individuals and paired teammates brought home numerous awards.
“These athletes competed very well, said Josh Boyd, Bullard ISD tennis coach. “We were basically undefeated in team tennis, having beaten teams such as Spring Hill, Kilgore, Whitehouse, and Jacksonville. We have a total of 42 kids in our program, and we just started doing year-round tennis with them, which has developed their abilities greatly.”
Overall, the BMS seventh and eighth grade girls teams were both able to accomplish first place finishes during Spring play, while the BMS eighth grade boys took home second place team honors, falling short to Spring Hill by just one point.
For the BMS seventh grade boys team, the program was able to achieve high finishes in singles and doubles play.
Braden Simmons took home first place honors in consolation boys singles, while the team of Caleb Brooks and Windom Hamilton secured a first place finish in boys doubles.
Likewise, the BMS seventh grade girls team received many awards for their efforts on the cort this Spring season.
In singles play, a total of three BMS seventh grade tennis athletes brought home awards, including Maddie Majors, first place girls singles; Emilia Ditsworth, second place girls singles; and MacKenzie Ballow, first place consolation girls singles.
The BMS seventh grade girls program also proved to be superior athletes in the girls doubles competition, with three awards presented to the team.
Madison Creel and Samantha Rodriguez claimed a second place finish in girls doubles, while Ella Falls and Emma Thurman placed third and Maddie Ford and Kaycie Johnston finished in fourth place.
Boys said the seventh grade teams, the youngest members of the program …
“I believe most of our seventh grade boys and girls will be returning to the program next year,” said Boyd. “Being able to start playing tennis in seventh grade now, they are definitely going to be ahead of the game. Kilgore and Spring Hill have tennis year-round at the middle school level, so for us to get that, it’ll help us to compete as we go forward. Several of our seventh grade players achieved success and took home awards this year, which will only push them to compete harder in the future.”
In the BMS eighth grade program, a high number of athletes, both boys and girls, finished the Spring tennis season strong, which allowed them to be the recipients of several awards.
Bullard’s eighth grade boys singles play was led by the strong finishes of Clark Gunn and Jack Watkins, placing second and third place, respectively.
A total of four athletes representing the BMS eighth grade girls tennis program also brought home awards for their strong level of play during the Spring season, including Audrey Rhyne, first place girls singles; Emma Dees, third place girls singles; Callie Adelfio, fourth place girls singles; and Alayna Anderson, first place consolation girls singles.
Bullard was also able to overpower the competition in eighth grade doubles, play, with a total of five teams claiming accolades for the Spring season.
BMS eighth grade teams presented with awards in doubles play included Cayden Dodd and Caleb Hanna, third place boys doubles; Cole Adair and Caleb Petty, fourth place boys doubles; Avery Hicks and Sierra Boudreaux, first place girls doubles; Makena Crawford and Edie Pudwill, third place girls doubles; and Caden Whitt and Lauren Zaber, fourth place team doubles.
The final Spring season award presented to the BMS tennis program went to the mixed doubles pair of Caleb Honeycutt and Sophie Clifton, taking home fourth place.
“Our eighth grade teams also performed quite well this season,” said Boyd. “Some of them played last season, but they’ve all worked very hard and we’ll have a great group of athletes that will move up to the high school level next year. A few of the eighth grade athletes are playing in USTA tournaments during the summer, as well as taking lessons, which will be very beneficial to our program in the coming years.”
According to Boyd, with a high number of athletes interested in tennis at the middle school level, the program has become popular due to the opportunity it presents players to compete.
“I think the opportunity to play has been a major factor in the tennis program’s popularity,” said Boyd. “Also, it’s a program that the athletes can participate in year-round. It seems that these kids really enjoy the program; they are a great group of kids and there are a lot of close friends on the team that encourage each other. Our theme throughout the year has been “family,” and they have definitely treated each other as such.”
In addition to the 42 athletes in the BMS tennis program, Boyd also stated that the high school program totaled 25 athletes this season. With the high number of participation in both programs, Boyd predicts the teams will be able to compete well against the competition in the future.
“If it keeps going the way it’s going now, we’re going to be competing for Regional and state places,” said Boyd. “We’ve got a good group at the high school right now, with a large number of seniors in the 2018-2019 school year. They’re all working hard and setting the tone throughout the program in the way they work.”