One of the lesser-known athletic programs at Bullard High School recently competed well at the District level and will be sending athletes to compete at Regionals.
The BHS tennis program, led by head coach Joshua Boyd, competed at the District 15-4A tennis tournament, held Monday and Tuesday, April 3-4, at Longview High School, competing against programs from district schools such as Chapel Hill, Gilmer, Gladewater, Kilgore, and Spring Hill.
At the district event, the team was able to finish overall in second place, as the Lady Panther tennis team placed second in their division, followed by the Panther tennis team, placing third in their division.
“We’ve really come a long ways since last August,” said Boyd. “We’ve had some good progression in the fall, where we lost to Spring Hill the first time we played them, then turned around and beat them within a matter of weeks. The team has been working hard all year long, and their hard work was really evident at the District tournament. We had several athletes take home medals, and we also finished second above Spring Hill for the first time in the program’s history, which was a big step for us.”
Highlighting the successes of the BHS tennis program at the District 15-4A tennis tournament was the duo of Kallie Hardin and Belle Ertl, placing second overall in girls doubles and advancing to the Regional tennis tournament, held Monday and Tuesday, April 18-19, at Longview High School.
“These two girls have worked really hard this year together,” said Boyd. “Belle was a move-in, and we got a lot of talent from her coming into our program. Kallie has been our top girl player all year long, and she has worked hard to improve her game. They had a chance for first place at District, but ended up falling a little short, but I was proud of the way they played. They have a great shot to take some wins at Regionals and advance further.”
Results for Hardin and Ertl’s performance at the Regional tennis tournament were unavailable at the time of press.
The BHS tennis program also collected a number of other singles and doubles finishes at the District 15-4A tennis tournament, including Dylan Sloan, placing third in boys singles; Caroline Calhoon, placing fourth in girls singles; Will McAllister and Josh Wagner, placing fifth in boys doubles; Jackson Peer and Alek Terho-Streck, placing sixth in boys doubles; Alex Breedlove and Olivia Hayes, placing fourth in girls doubles; Hailey Minton and Hunter Crawford, placing fifth in mixed doubles; and Courtney White and Conner White, placing sixth in mixed doubles.
Throughout the revitalization year for the BHS tennis program during the 2017-2018 school year, Boyd said the direction of the program has turned and is headed in the right direction.
“It’s like a 180-degree turn,” said Boyd. “It’s really been up to the kids in terms of how hard they work and how long they stay on the court. There’s really not an off-season for our program; we usually play from January to December. Our off-season is basically only when the weather is bad. These athletes have come and put in the work and hours to be a part of a successful program, not matter if the weather was cold or hot. We’re a relatively young team with no seniors this year, and we also have about 65 kids at the middle school level, plus our 22 athletes in high school. The program is growing and I believe the program will be successful for a long time.”