The Mason High School tennis team ran its string of consecutive state team championships to nine in a row last weekend in Austin. Coming off the closest regional victory in the last 10 years, the team found itself in a very tough draw.
Still playing without all its members, the team took its four seniors, six juniors, one sophomore, and eight freshmen on the road to Austin to compete in one of the toughest fields that has competed in several years. Mason entered the tournament as the number one seed followed by regional opponent, Wall. Reagan County was the number three seed and Brock was the number four. Reagan County, the state runner-up the last three years, was eliminated first round by the number two team from Region IV, Krum.
Mason’s first round opponent was Grand Saline. Mason had very little trouble with the Indians. All 19 players competed as Mason swept its first round match 19-0 with the girls’ team losing only four games total. This set up a match with White Oak, the team that soundly defeated Krum at their regional tournament. White Oak was returning almost the entire team of a group that finished sixth last year, so the Punchers/Cowgirls knew it would be a tough match. The doubles teams were able to win six of the seven matches. Singles wins by Matt Banner, Tyler Chew, Trey Schwertner, Margaret Lemke, Traci Jordan and Amanda Hudson secured the Mason 12-7 victory and advanced the team to the semi-finals.
The semi-final opponent was Brock another team with an outstanding boys, team. Mason again dominated the girls’ side and won a couple of key matches early by the boys to secure the win 11-8. Meanwhile, Wall was dominating their semi-final opponent, Krum, by a 10-1 count. The regional rematch was set.
We struggled with Wall in almost every match last week at regionals. We lost all three boys’ doubles matches as well as splitting sets at the number one and three girls’ doubles. The kids realized this was going to be a great match and that they had to play their very best. We had a great week of practice and the kids seemed very much focused all w
When the match started, Mason jumped out in all three girls’ doubles matches as well as the number one boys’ doubles and the mixed doubles, capturing the first sets in all. Wall rallied back in the mixed doubles winning the second set and taking match in a third set tiebreaker. We dropped the number three boys’ doubles, but Paden Hemphill and Andrew Willis staged a rally of their own to come back and win the second set and the tiebreaker to give Mason a 5-2 lead after the doubles. This replaced the 4-3 deficit that we had experienced at regionals.
The girls continued their dominance in singles as they proceeded to win the top four singles matches by Makenzie Mitchell, Margaret Lemke, Kaitlyn Cavness, and Traci Jordan. This coupled with wins by Matt Banner and Trey Schwertner secured the victory and earned Mason its ninth straight team title and its nineteenth championship since1982. This means Mason has won 19 while the rest of the state has won 10. This accomplishment is even great since Mason is competing in the 2A state championships instead of the 1A.
The tennis team would like to thank all those parents, grandparents, friends, and past players that showed up to support the team. A special thanks goes to the Mason Tennis Association for getting all the afternoon lunches ready for the kids and giving us time to rest between matches. It is a blessing to be associated with a school district and a community that supports its kids the way Mason supports our kids. We always have the largest and loudest contingencies. This support does not go unnoticed by the players or the coaches.
The team now starts its second season…the UIL individual season. Mason will be returning three state champions this year as it prepares for another successful tournament in Austin in May.