Stepping up helps KF progress

Published 7:14 pm Tuesday, July 4, 2017

King’s Fork High School’s girls’ tennis team just completed a season that required a majority of its players to step up and take major new roles.

Last year, King’s Fork graduated its top four players. This year’s Lady Bulldogs had to somehow fill those spots. The top four girls on the team this year didn’t even play in regular-season matches last year. But by taking on new roles this year, they helped lead the team’s progress.

King’s Fork finished third in its conference this season. As a whole, coach Calvin Mitchell felt the season turned out well.

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“The girls gave me everything they had,” Mitchell said. “Some of these girls didn’t even play in matches last year, and the ones who did maybe played in one match or so. They had to step up, and they did.”

Denaja Thomas was the No. 1 singles player for the Lady Bulldogs this season. The King’s Fork High School team finished third in its conference this season.
Caroline LaMagna photo

Mitchell felt that his team adjusted well to playing in more matches. The team’s No. 1 player, Denaja Thomas, made it to the conference semifinals, along with the doubles team of Thomas and Selina Davis.

To motivate his girls, Mitchell often told used a cliché, but it was an effective one. “Go big or go home,” he said.

He wanted to encourage his girls to give their best effort every time and remain confident in themselves. It was a big challenge for the Lady Bulldogs, but Mitchell knew that they had it in them.

“Sometimes I told the girls you even have to be a bit overconfident in yourself,” Mitchell said. “Because there is no one to take that role for you. I wanted the girls to believe they had enough skill to do that because they did.”

The top five out of the eight that Mitchell had this season were all seniors. However, he is hoping the experience the other three players have gotten will set them up for a bigger season next year.

Next year the Lady Bulldogs hope to advance to regional play as they were one match away from making it this year.