ASHLAND – Over the past few years, Hanover High School’s boys and girls tennis teams have established themselves as the best in the county – and among the best in the state. The Hawk girls won three straight state championships before the season was cancelled due to COVID-19 last year. They were state runners up the two years before their state championship run began.
As for the Hawk boys, they were runners-up two straight years before the 2020 season was cancelled.
The Hanover teams would like to pick up in 2021 where they left off in 2019, and began their campaign to again contend for a state title in fine fashion Thursday by each team notching a 5-0 victory over its counterpart from Courtland in the Region 4B semifinals.
The Hawk girls began the season with two seniors and one junior opting out of the season. But they had one key returner: reigning singles champion Raine Weis, who handily defeated Courtland’s Mac Watkins 6-1, 6-0 in the girls semifinal at Courtland. The other Hawk winners were Jordan Wood, Juliann Webster, Kate Tunstall and Jamison Poythress. The other singles player, Danielle Woodward, was leading before play was suspended when Hanover clinched the match.
“We had a young team, but it was actually kind of amazing,” said Hanover head girls tennis coach Lindsey Wyeth Hein. “All these kids have gotten so much better, despite the fact that we had such a short season. Normally we start in February. We started April 12. You can see a massive amount of improvement and they all are excited to be out there.”
Ethan Belote, Charles Adams, Carson Brooks, Vance Woodard and Noah Cole all won in the Hawk boys sweep of the Cougars in the semifinals.
The Hanover teams faced their counterparts from Eastern View in the region finals Monday after this edition went to press.
The Region 4B singles and doubles tournaments will be held in Mechanicsville this week. Hanover hosts all three rounds of the girls singles and doubles tournaments. Mechanicsville hosts the first two rounds of the boys singles and doubles tournaments, with the finals at Hanover.
The top four seeds – including top-seeds Weis in girls singles, Weis and Webster in girls doubles and Belote in boys singles along with second-seed Belote and Adams in boys doubles – in each bracket will have a bye the first day of the singles and doubles tournaments Wednesday.
Local participants in the first round of the singles and doubles tournaments include Mechanicsville’s Brianna Velasco and Patrick Henry’s Emma Goldman in girls singles; Velasco and Megan Davis and Goldman and Sarah Hammond in girls doubles; Mechanicsville’s Preston Edmonds and Patrick Henry’s Lance Finnegan in boys singles; and Edmonds and Matthew Lavinder and Finnegan and Holt Oley in boys doubles.
Dave Lawrence can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.