ARLINGTON — Waxahachie's Indians took their first tennis victory of the season Thursday night in Waxahachie, rebounding from a loss to Midlothian Heritage High School at the beginning of the week.
New Head Coach Nicholas Tanner, who swapped staff positions with Kit Alford in July, also notched his first career win after the 17-7 finish.
"The team has played well in the first couple of matches," Tanner said. "They have shown great energy and enthusiasm during both of their matches. The first match against Midlothian Heritage, the team played hard and was able to learn from their mistakes."
The boys won 10 out of the 12 matches played and won four of the matches 6-0. The girls won 6 of 11 matches — including three 6-0.
"Thursday night against Arlington High School — their shot selection and anticipation — was better," he continued.
He noted seniors Hayden Cawthon, Jackson Yarbrough, Javon Carter, and Gabi Ruiz, players he said led the team and set the tone for the victory. Cawthon and Yarbrough first swept the Colts in boys' doubles then cleared singles competition.
Ruiz went 6-3 in girls' singles play and helped Carter win the only mixed doubles match of the day by the same final score.
"They were big last night [against] Arlington High School and didn't drop a single set," he said. "We are working every day on shot selection, anticipation, and consistency. The athletes are buying in and trying to improve these three parts of their game. Then with this improve beginning at the junior high levels and continuing at the JV and varsity levels we can begin to develop and grow as a program."
Indian ladies Unique Honeycutt, Hines and Willett each swept their matches. Jackson joined Cawthon and Yarbrough in the shutout club.
Because Tanner was looking to take on more responsibility and leadership within the program and Alford wanted to take them back before his daughter entered high school, he said he moved into a head coaching role, and Alford became his assistant.
"It was the perfect opportunity and solution for us," Tanner said. "We complement each other well as coaches. I am excited to get to continue coaching with him."
Alford was the head coach and Tanner was a lead assistant for each of the last three years.
The current compilation of talent that's helped Tanner ease his way into the lead seat at Waxahachie's coaching table gracefully, too, could help the Indians rise against competition against Mansfield Summit High School at 3 p.m. Aug. 29 in Waxahachie and Red Oak High School on Sept. 5 in Red Oak.
Those two matches will be the first of seven boys' and girls' district matches — and firsts for Tanner in his new position.
"I am fortunate to have six seniors on the team. They all play a vital role in helping the team develop and improving shot selection," Tanner said. "These athletes lead on and off the court. Whether it is giving guidance on how to improve a freshman's serve or organizing team gatherings, they are stepping up into their leadership roles nicely."
Marcus S. Marion is the sports editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light and Midlothian Mirror. He can be reached by phone at (469) 517-1456 or across social media platforms @MarcusSMarion.