The 2012 Mason Tennis Team got its first competition this last weekend here on their home courts as we hosted their Shootout Tournament. This is the first of three consecutive weeks of tournaments here in Mason. The Shootout was an eight team tournament in which everyone participating played were guaranteed four matches. San Angelo Central won the tournament with 164 points. In second place was Midland Christian (151), followed by Kerrville (118), Mason (111), Fredericksburg (98), Marble Falls (87), Pflugerville 74), and Ingram 53). Central tennis coach, Mason’s Cade Smith, said this was one of the best JV teams he has ever had. “We have more depth this year than we have ever had…It was a great tournament for our kids.” Mason still has several of its players playing basketball, so about half of the players playing in the tournament were JV players. This is great for our young players. They may take it on the chin, but they see where they need to be in the next few weeks. Mason did get one gold medal as senior, Matt Banner, defended his title losing only four games on his way to the championships. Taking third place was the sophomore girls’ doubles team of Traci Jordan and Claudia Canfield. Finishing in sixth place in singles were senior Andrew Willis and sophomore Carley Chew. The best part of this type of tournament is that when you are guaranteed four matches, you can work on your game without worrying about being out if you lose. We try to emphasize to our players that we don’t have to win right now; we need to be playing well that first week in March when we try to qualify for state team. With so many players still in basketball, Mason could be forced to play our qualifying matches with many JV players, so we are trying to prepare them for this. Those youngsters will have to play some great tennis to give us a shot to get to Austin to try for our 10th straight state team championship. The team has been working very hard since we got back from Christmas break and we look forward to the challenge that is in front of us. While several of our players will be playing in Fredericksburg on Thursday next week, the top four boys and top four girls will have a gigantic challenge as Mason hosts it 28th Annual Hill Country Classic here on our home courts on Friday and Saturday. The teams coming this year are the same as we have had the last several years…Abilene Cooper, Abilene High, Abilene Wylie, Fredericksburg, Kerrville, San Angelo Central (varsity this time), San Antonio Churchill, and Southlake Carroll. Many of these are top 4A and 5A teams in Texas. Wylie has won the 3A State Team Championship five times in a row. There will be some great tennis here starting at 8:00 both mornings. We hope the community will come out and watch as many of the players participating have already played in Austin at the state championships and are expected to repeat their trips this year.