Sharon and Bob Wood went back to their roots this spring.
After leading the Seymour girls tennis team at the high school for the past couple of years, they decided to coach the girls tennis team at Seymour Middle School this spring, which is where it all started for them.
The result? The Owls went a perfect 14-0 in both varsity and junior varsity competition, and they lost less than 20 games combined all season long.
“It was really special,” Sharon said. “We were nervous going from the high school level to the middle school level because different skills, different ages, but the minute we were back, because that’s kind of where we started was at the middle school, the girls bonded to us, we bonded to them, everybody working as hard as they could together.”
The players on the team were, starting with the eighth-graders, Maeleigh Banister, Bridget Deaton, Elsie Herbert, Kelsea Hunsley and Avery Williams. Seventh-graders were Gabby Cornn, Jazzlyn Cravens, Emma Dippold, Cali Fox, Anniston Rennekamp and Katelynn Woods. Sixth-graders were Miriam Boyd, Audra Bush, Nola Grube, Julia Hartung and Chloe Holtke. Managers were Ross Bevers and Colin Hartung.
All 14 matches were 5-0 sweeps for Seymour.
“We were a strong team,” Wood said. “Even though we were 5-0 all 14 matches, our girls still showed improvement, and that goes to their work ethic in practice.”
Cornn, who switched between one singles and two singles with Hunsley throughout the year, said the players all started to realize their chance at an undefeated record toward the end of the season.
“The whole season was a lot of fun,” Cornn said. “I didn’t know our record was going to be perfect whenever we first started, but even after tryouts, we realized early how good our team could be throughout the season. We just kept winning, and people started getting worried about their records and matches. It was 12-0, then 13-0 and finally, it was 14-0, which was really exciting.”
Wood said she was able to vary the lineup throughout the year, and of the 16 girls on the roster, 13 of them had the chance to play in a varsity match.
“We saw their consistency grow and serving consistency,” Wood said. “It’s great to see good athletes who hadn’t played a lot of tennis learn the game and just grow.”
Cornn played No. 1 doubles last season but liked how independent singles was this year. Her older sister, Marlo, plays on the Owls’ high school team, and Gabby plans to play in high school, as well.
But she still has one more year as an eighth-grader, which she hopes is equally as successful as this year.
“I don’t know if my record will be as good next year, but that would be awesome,” she said. “Hopefully, I’m playing one singles again.”
If going undefeated didn’t make the Owls look good enough throughout the year, a big talking point was how snazzy the team’s uniforms were with a purple top and then a checkered purple and white bottom.
“Coach Wood told my mom before I went to go try them on that they were different than any of the uniforms we’ve had before, so I was kind of nervous,” Cornn said. “When I first tried them on, they were kind of weird, but then playing other teams, we looked more organized and started liking them more.”
It was quite the look for the Owls, and Wood was happy she switched it up a bit.
Speaking of switching it up, Sharon and Bob will be shaking things up again next year as they decided after the season to retire from coaching for the time being.
Going undefeated isn’t a bad way to go out, but their daughter, Emma, joked that she gives them six months before they decide to come back and coach the Owls on the courts again.