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Friday, June 14, 2024

pACErs!

Coming off a 9th place finish last year (one of the highest finishes in recent memory), where the Enid High Girls Tennis team graduated half of the team, there could have been a little bit of concern of what the team would look like this year. However, according to Coach Wade Rogers, he was confident they would be able to compete on at least a similar level this year. “Losing 3 starters is never easy,” Rogers said, “but I knew who was coming up, and who we had coming back, and that made it a little easier.”

Last year’s team qualified at all 4 spots (#1 Singles, #2 Singles, #1 Doubles, #2 Doubles), and Coach Rogers expects this year’s team to do the same. “Haley Hibbets placed 3rd last year at #2 Singles as a Freshman, and this year she’s moved up to #1 singles. Alexis Garcia was 7th at #1 Singles, and this year we have had her at #2 Singles. Honestly, these two girls are pretty even, and have gone to tiebreakers when they play each other, so I thought moving them to different spots gave us a little better chance to score more points this year.” The move seems to be working so far as these dynamic players have both placed in several tough tournaments this year.  

Hibbets won the Muskogee tournament, finished second at Enid, and third at Jenks and Broken Arrow. According to Coach Rogers, she has done a great job filling the #1 role. “Haley’s biggest strength is consistency. She doesn’t get too high or too low, and plays best when she’s even-keeled. She’s really powerful, and I think she can finish in the top 3 at State if she plays well.”    

Garcia has also been really good at the #2 spot winning the Enid and Muskogee tournaments and finishing 2nd at Broken Arrow and third at Jenks. “Garcia is playing really good right now,” said coach Rogers, “she’s consistent, focused, and plays upbeat with a little passion. There is no reason she couldn’t place at State too.”

As for the Doubles teams, the new girls have stepped up and really done well replacing the three graduating seniors from last year. “Caitlyn Stotts and Madison Nickels have really been good in the #1 doubles spot. They have adapted to the faster pace of play and it would be really awesome if they could score some points for us (finish in the top 8) this year at state. In #2 doubles, Kenzie Stotts has started every tournament and has been paired with either Sage Haffner or Sophia Groendyke. I think they can surprise some people and score some points too. If the doubles teams really step up, I think, as a team, a top 5 finish is definitely doable,” said Rogers. 

Regardless of this year’s finish, the future of Enid Tennis is bright, as they have a new tennis facility in the works. Thanks largely to the efforts of Tennis Booster Avadelle Hibbets in raising over $400,000 in private donations, as well as money the school district had set aside for the project, 8 brand new tennis courts will be built on campus over the next year. “I’m really excited about the new tennis facility,” said Coach Rogers, Avadelle was really amazing spearheading the fundraising drive to make it a reality. I can’t wait to break ground and think it will be one of the nicest facilities in the state, and hopefully encourages kids to try tennis!”

Editor’s Note: After publication of this article in the print magazine, the Pacers competed in the State tournament. Haley Hibbets finished 3rd in #1 singles, and Alexas Garcia finished 2nd in #2 singles. #2 Doubles qualified for the State tournament but did not place. According to Coach Rogers, as a team, they finished 5th in the State.

ENID HIGH PRIDE OF THE PLAINS IS PROUDLY PRESENTED BY SLATER MECHANICAL!

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Robert Faulk
Robert Faulkhttps://enidmonthly.com
Robert R. Faulk is the Publisher and Editor of the Enid Monthly. Robert graduated from Oklahoma State University with a B.A. in Political Science and has his J.D. from the Oklahoma City University School of Law. He is originally from Oklahoma City, but is happy to have lived in Enid since 2004 and calls it "home."

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