Houston Maroon at State tourney

web tennisThe Houston Maroon USTA tennis team qualified for State tournament for the first time, but team members are planning to make it an annual event.

“I’m ready to get there again,” said team member Casey Jo Hollingsworth.
coach Mike Blissard took nine players with him for the round robin tournament which put Houston against teams from Petal, Starkville, Vicksburg and Jackson.
“We were playing some teams who are multiple state champs in high school,” Blissard said, but added the Houston team didn’t flinch at the competition.
Blissard has worked with the USTA team outside of the high school setting and has several players who have been involved with tournaments for the last couple of years.
“Our boys were not outmatched, by no means,” Blissard said.
Chase Eldridge’s experience in tournament play put him at ease on the court.
“When I played doubles with Walt (Harrington) in our second match it was pretty competitive, but the rest of them were about the same,” Eldridge said.
Although his female players are less experienced on the court, he was proud of the effort they put out and their determination to compete.
“They got a good look at what the state tournament is,” Blissard said. “None of our girls have played more than two years. The boys have a lot more experience in tournament tennis.”
The tournament is weighed by games won and, although the team was defeated in their round robin, there were some positive sparks along the way with the boy’s doubles picking up four wins and boy’s singles gaining four combined wins. The boy’s side of the bracket is comprised of Ezra Blissard, Chapman Boyer, Eldridge and Walt Harrington.
Cameron Byrne picked up a singles win for the girls and team mate, Hollingsworth, said the trip was well worth the experience.
“It was very exciting,” Hollingsworth said. “I was able to see how good I can be if I practice a whole lot more and if I stick with it, which I definitely will be doing.”
Team members who made the trip to Jackson on the girl’s side include Hollingsworth, Byrne, Brennan Byrne, Madison Mitchell and Abbie Mitchell.
“I’m proud of all of them,” Blissard said. “This (State tournament) either defeates you or makes you more determined. They mostly seem to be determined.”