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The Cherryville Eagle

Cherryville High School Ironmen tennis team seniors see season over after one match

Colby Davis and Sammy Clark in 2019 on the CHS Ironmen tennis team, with their teammates. Davis is third from the left in the back row, and Clark is first from the left in the front row. The remaining 2019 Ironmen men’s tennis team are (back row, left to right): Michael Walsh, Nathaniel Lackey, Davis, Brady Buchanan, Mitchell Lackey, Matthew Dellinger, Coach Brandon Shull, and Luke Rayfield. Front row (left to right): Clark, Sean Kostiuk, Andrew Clark, Justyn Taylor, and Sam Kostiuk. (photos provided)

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Game. Set. Match!
It wasn’t the ending CHS men’s tennis head coach Brandon Shull wanted for his team.
They were, like so many other high school sports teams, negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, watching as their season almost got started, then ending abruptly.
Coach Shull noted the end came so swiftly, it basically gave his men – especially his seniors – no chance to prove their skills; their mettle on the courts.
Said Shull, “The one match we were able to play was at West Lincoln on March 10.” That match was, unfortunately for Shull and his men, a loss. A couple of days later, Gov. Cooper issued the executive order canceling high school and collegiate sports in the state.
That said, he had two young men for the 2020 Spring sports senior spotlight for Boys Tennis: Sammy Clark and Colby Davis.
“Sammy has been a four-year starter on the team,” said Coach Shull. “This year he played number one seed in the only match we were able to have. He has been a very important part of the program since the start when he was a freshman player.”
Similarly, Shull said Davis, also a four-year player, saw playing time in the Ironmen varsity lineup, comporting himself well.

Sammy Clark
Clark noted the coronavirus hit all high school sports hard, and said of the tennis year’s end, and his ability to keep honing his skills, “It’s hard to play tennis without being on the court,” referring to the social distancing rules imposed on the schools by Gov. Roy Cooper and his health administration in order to protect the students and staff.
As for his skills or those of other tennis players, Clark noted, that when it comes to practicing and working on plays at home or with friends, so far as tennis is concerned, “There is  not much you can do unless you just focus on form and how you hold your racquet.”
As for his personal feelings about what effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the CHS 2020 Ironmen team and his athletic status, Clark said, “I enjoy playing tennis. I was looking forward to being a captain of the team and just having fun.”
And, regarding his future plans with the sport he loves, he noted he will probably not pursue the sport at a college level.
Said Clark, “Most likely (I will) not (play) with a team. I will play for fun with my brother (Andrew) and friends.”
As for his college plans Clark said simply, it would not affect any college plans he has.

Colby Davis
Like Clark, Davis said that with the tennis courts being closed by the city he was not able to do much practicing.
That said, David noted, “I was able to work on some parts of my skills like tossing the ball for a serve. Without being on the court the rest of the skills can be hard. Just building cardio is mostly all I could do.”
Regarding his personal feelings about what effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the Ironmen tennis team and his own athletic status, Davis said, “Tennis is the only sport I play, so losing my senior year has been rough. I’ve worked hard since freshman year.”
He added he has no plans to play in college, but perhaps might play, “Maybe on a club level.”
Again, like Clark, Davis said his college plans have not been affected by the coronavirus.