MIDLOTHIAN – For the Midlothian tennis program, Thursday was a night of firsts.
The team held its first banquet to honor the team tennis season in the fall while presenting superlative honors for the first time in five years.
Add in the first season as a 5A program, and the night was a chance to look back on the fall season and celebrate while looking forward to the spring season with optimism.
“It was awesome because usually we do it at the very end of the year and tennis is two seasons,” Midlothian tennis coach Marcus Canonico said. “The individual stuff is what we’re doing now but the team aspect is so important to us so doing the banquet right after the team tennis (season) I think it was better because we were able to make it more of a team banquet.”
With both the junior varsity and varsity teams on-hand, the program recognized and rewarded all the efforts that helped make the season so special.
Guest speaker Lee McCleary, a former coach at Baylor and 35-plus year tennis pro, spoke to the crowd emphasizing the need to develop a plan and follow it for success.
He shared tips he’d learned through his years of training players at all levels, focusing on structure, commitment and focus as some of the major areas that separate great players from good ones.
The message of working for the future segued into honoring the success of the 2010 fall season.
Players from both the junior varsity and varsity squads were called to the stage and presented certificates for their participation in the season.
Awards and honors were then given out to players for both the girls and boys teams. Team superlatives voted on by the players featured four categories. For the junior varsity team, best lob went to Jennifer Hartgraves and Zach Strain. Best overhead went to Tessa Bittick and Brantlin Wilkes. Best attitude went to Katie Bass and Andre Castillo. Most consistent/dependable went to Ana Berthelsen and Joel McIlheney.
For the varsity program, it was Angie Reyes and Matt Kleinlauth for best lob. Best overhead went to Lexi Hendrix and Tyler Honeycutt. Best attitude went to Julia Frandsen-DeLoach and Kleinlauth. Most consistent went to Frandsen-DeLoach and Nolan Carr. The final category was Mr. and Miss Midlothian Tennis as those honors went to Brittany Boughton and Honeycutt.
Coaches Canonico, Greg Owen and Brett Ratzlatt announced that for the first time in five years the program would have official team superlatives voted on by the coaches.
The superlative winners would have their names engraved on a plaque that would be put in the team’s trophy case at the high school and displayed for all to see.
The most improved honor went to junior varsity players Berthelsen and JT Skidmore while Kleinlauth and Frandsen-DeLoach claimed newcomers of the year. Team MVP honors went to Honeycutt and Kaylee Hullett.
Recognizing those distinguished players was something Canonico had been thinking about doing and it seemed like the right time to bring back the honors. He was happy to honor those players who deserved the recognition.
“It’s been about five years since we’ve given the MVP. The booster club president and I talked about we needed to bring these back, we’d like to have something in the arena where everybody else has stuff,” Canonico said. “We really wanted to bring back the MVP, newcomer of the year and most improved. Those were the three that we chose because we thought they were the best.”
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