The West Virginia State tennis tournament begins on Thursday at two locations in Charleston.
The Class AAA tournament will take place at the Schoenbaum Tennis Courts in Kanawha City and the AA-A tournament will be held at Charleston Catholic’s Athletic Complex off Hillcrest Drive.
Competition continues through Saturday’s singles and doubles title matches, with champions crowned in four singles divisions and three doubles divisions for both boys and girls.
George Washington’s boys made history last season in Class AAA with a team title as they tied Parkersburg’s mark of 21 championships while Charleston Catholic’s girls won the team crown in Class AA-A.
But Hurricane’s boys may give GW a run for its money this year, as all of Hurricane’s athletes qualified for the state tournament for the first time in school history.
Domenick Hoh, Preston Fox, Curry Taylor, Zachary Giertz, Blake Shamblin, Kellen Pauley, Elias Kave and Jacob Smolder will all work toward a team title for Hurricane.
“We’ve always had good tennis players, but this year we have excellent players,” Hurricane coach Kendra White said. “The top of our boys lineup is a freshman [Smolder]. He has just been awesome. Him winning the region was unexpected but also very well-deserved. He works hard.”
Smolder and Giertz will play in the No. 1 doubles together and Smolder will play in the No. 1 singles. Taylor is undefeated and will compete in the No. 3 singles. Hoh is Hurricane’s only senior and he will compete in the No. 4 singles in his third state tournament appearance. Hoh and Curry are in the No. 2 doubles and are undefeated.
Hurricane’s girls roster features seniors Katy Limanen and Lexi Smolder, who won the No. 1 doubles title in last year’s state tournament and will team up again in the No. 1 doubles. They have a bye in the first round of the No. 1 doubles.
Limanen also won the No. 2 singles tournament in 2021. Ella Peterson, Brooke Stewart and Savannah Allen also qualified for the tournament.
GW junior Rohen Jones made it to the final of the No. 1 singles last year but lost to Huntington’s AJ Mercer — a respectable opponent as Mercer was No. 30 in the country among 15-year-olds at the time. Jones will kick off his state tournament in the No. 1 singles against Parkersburg South’s Evan Barker on Thursday.
Rohen Jones’ brother Samir Jones won an individual title as a freshman in the No. 3 singles last season. Samir Jones has a bye in the No. 2 singles and will play in that event on Friday.
The Jones brothers will team up in the No. 1 doubles and they have a bye in the first round.
“We’re really excited,” George Washington boys coach Taylor Dixon Rose said. “Our goal is to win the state title again this year. We’re looking for some individual titles as well. Rohen had a good match last year with AJ and so this year he’s going for the …….