Unprecedented Bath Charger tennis season ends
Hot Springs, VA – The history making season of the Bath County High School tennis team came to a close on Wednesday, when the team was defeated in the Region C semifinals. In the regular season the team was undefeated, the first time ever for Bath County High School. Mike Bollinger is the team’s head coach.
“It was actually very close,” says Bollinger. “We lost to Graham High School, which is a way bigger high school than us, from out at Bluefield. We lost to them 5-2. Sarah Wright won her singles at number 2 and freshman Ali McLaurin won her singles at number 6. Melanie Baughan lost her singles in three long sets. Katelyn Rice’s match was very close, it was 7-5 in the second set. And the third doubles, we lost in three sets. We were right in there. If a few key points had gone the other way the match could have turned out differently, but Graham is very good. They deserved to win, there’s no doubt about it.”
With this year’s success, the Bath County High School tennis program has now won six consecutive district championships.
“It was a great effort on their part,” says Bollinger. “That’s really what it was. They came in, they learned, they worked hard, because we were inexperienced when we started. That’s really how it happened. We’re not going to physically out-athlete and overpower anyone. We have to outwork them and that’s what they did.”
Bollinger feels the trip to the semifinals was a good learning experience for this team. At the beginning of this season, only three of the team’s eleven members had ever played a varsity singles match before.
“I think they saw the level they’re going to have to get to,” says Bollinger. “That’s what I hope they saw, is that, ‘Hey we’ve got to step up one more level to get to where we can compete with these teams in the regionals.’ But thankfully, for the most part, we are very young and I think they have time to do that and I think they will try to do it.”
The members of this year’s tennis team are: Melanie Baughan, Sarah Wright, Rebekah Blake, Katelyn Rice, Rachel Robertson, Ali McLaurin, Jenny Quantz, Alli Wolfe, Emily Arrington, Nikki McDaniel and Rebecca Stover.
“I just want to thank the parents,” says Bollinger. “Well, I want to thank the girls for everything they did. The parents, because we have a great group of parents, they bring food and they drive and they do all this stuff. And the administration and the athletic department at the high school, they were supportive of us this whole year. Up until this year, for example, the girls had to buy their own uniforms. Well the school bought us new uniforms this year and a couple of pieces of new equipment that we needed. And the Athletic Boosters who paid for our rooms in Radford Tuesday night, so we didn’t have to leave here at 5 o’clock in the morning and go play. Tennis is a non-revenue sport and we don’t bring in any money and we do spend a little, but everybody was very supportive of us and I’d like to just thank everyone who helped out.”
Bollinger is losing two players to graduation this year, Melanie Baughan and Sarah Wright.