MCHS Tennis works toward three-peat of district championship

MCHS Tennis senior captain Sawyer Parks says he keeps battling and pushing with an eye toward a three-peat of the District 11 Championship, which start in May. | PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Reed

 LYNCHBURG — The Moore County High School tennis team has one collective, Columbia blue goal in mind for the 2024 season and that’s a three-peat of the TSSAA Class A District 11 championship for both Raiders and the Raiderettes.

They made strong strides towards that goal through the first three weeks of the season. The girls team is currently 9-1 with the only loss coming to Shelbyville Central High School in a close 3-4 match. The boys record is 6-3, with losses to Coffee County, Tullahoma, and Shelbyville.  Both the boys and girls teams are undefeated (3-0) in District 11A play in games versus Giles County High School, Community High School, and Fayetteville High School.  Head coach Manny Buchanan says he is “okay playing the larger schools because the teams need the competition to improve when post-season tennis gears up.”

Larger school equal a big challenge

For the Raiderettes, Audrey and Anna Harder play the #1 and #2 spots, respectively, and are undefeated in their singles matches and doubles matches through the first three weeks.

The duo, who also played on the Raiderettes varsity basketball team that earned Class 1A Runners Up this season, recently refocused from the hardwood court to the tennis courts. And just like their basketball coach, their tennis coach Manny Buchanan doesn’t shy away from scheduling tough matches against bigger schools. It’s been a confidence builder according to Audrey Harder.

“Defeating bigger schools in tennis and staying undefeated feels amazing. Going from competing at the state level in basketball to tennis is like switching gears but the thrill of winning never gets old. This shows that hard work and dedication pay off,” Audrey explained.

In the interim between basketball season and tennis season, Moore County’s two senior Raiderettes, Jada Ivey (#3 spot) and Abby Day (#4 spot) needed to step up and they rose to the challenge according to Coach Buchanan.

 “I’m very proud of how our two seniors, Jada and Abby, have played in the Harder sisters’ absence. They had to play up two spots, which is not easy to do. Obviously, we are so excited to get our girls back from basketball. They had a historic season and are a huge part of both programs,” Coach Buchanan said.

Looking for a district championship three-peat

On the Raiders side of the net, Coach Buchanan says three new starters – Sayan Patel, Marshall Higuet, and Grey Rogers – have emerged on the boys team, replacing a talented group from the 2023 season. One hold over is senior captain Sawyer Parks, who Coach Buchanan refers to as the “anchor” of the team.

“He has really improved as a singles player. I couldn’t be prouder of his coachability this year,” Coach Buchanan told us.

Parks defeated Shelbyville Central, a 6A school, in singles and in doubles with partner Rogers recently. When asked about the season, Parks told us he feels like the momentum is building for him.

“I started slow and my shots were not hitting. I just kept battling and pushing through because I knew that winning my singles will give us a good chance to win the match. I started buying into what my coaches were telling me and practicing what I needed to work on. It means a lot to me because I have been with the program four years. I’ve had a lot of great memories and cannot wait to three-peat as district champs,” Parks stated.

The Moore County High School Tennis regular season continues through April with district and regional championships beginning in May.•

{The Lynchburg Times is the only locally owned and locally operated community newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We offer common-sense, fact-driven local stories written by a Lynchburg native with over 20 years of journalism experience.  Click here to subscribe.}