Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro
The drop to Class 4A is being viewed as a move up by Marble Falls High School tennis head coach Sam Whitley.
Gone are the days of District 25-5A where members would bring more than 30 athletes who specialized in that one sport. Now, the Mustangs and Lady Mustangs are facing opponents much like themselves.
Because of the enrollment at each school, every program must share students in order to have enough to compete in the minimum 18 matches in team tennis. And that includes forfeiting the mixed doubles match. Most matches are played on Thursdays, sandwiched between volleyball matches and football games. That way students don’t have to pick between activities.
“You can forfeit one, but you can’t forfeit two,” Whitley said in order to have chance at winning the overall point that goes in the district standings.
Marble Falls will rely on returners Ainsleigh Briggs, Austin Cook, Miranda Cook, Mackenzie Farmer, Carter Farrell, Hayden Gasaway, Elin Gosselink, Nathan Houck, Destiny Morris, Avie Nail and Riley Stence to lead a stacked group of newcomers that include Chloe Brown, Landon Farris, Payton Glaser, Mia Hernandez, Mason Mack, Isabelle Nash, Nevaeh Nelson, Collin Schillig, Nicolas Smith, Sophia Trudeau and Cooper Womack through District 24-4A.
“The kids have a lot of natural ability that will come into play,” Whitley said. “We have a very good young team. Tennis is an individual team sport. No one player can win one match for the entire team to win. You have to rely on everybody to come along and develop.”
The district includes Burnet, Georgetown Gateway, Jarrell, Lago Vista and Lampasas. Whitley said he is still learning more about each opponent.
But the format, he believes, is favorable to all members. Coaches have agreed to play each other during the regular season for seedings for the district tournament. The top two teams get byes for the first round and await the two winning teams. Those four teams take the playoff berths and face each other for seeds headed into the postseason.
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