When experience is on your side, good things tend to happen.
Thats the motto Graves County tennis head coach Chuck Whitnell has about his upcoming 2020 squad.
The Eagles and Lady Eagles will enter their 2020 campaign with multiple important players returning after graduating just one senior from both the boys and girls teams in 2019.
Whitnell said he believes Graves' 2020 team will be a strong contender in the region throughout the season and come tournament time this year.
"We have a great group of student athletes returning for this year,'' Whitnell said. "We have a strong group of boys coming back with a year of experience under their belt after finishing 10-5 last year. We also return the Regional Champion doubles team and state tournament round of 16 participant, senior Isaac Carrico and junior Brady Ellegood. The Lady Eagles return the top 5 players from last year's team that went 13-2. Junior Laken Shultz and sophomore Maddy Williams lead our girls this spring."
Much like other teams in the region, Graves already has multiple matchups circled on the calendar this spring.
Favorites to contend include McCracken County, Paducah Tilghman, Calloway County and Graves County rival Mayfield, among many others.
The Eagles will feature a deeper roster than in years past as experienced players Isaac Carrico and Brady Ellegood lead the way. For the Lady Eagles, their team is as deep as its been in recent memory with multiple players poised to make a name for themselves in 2020 while other look to maintain their hold on the region.
Players to watch include: Laken Schultz, Maddy Williams, Audrey Lamb, Allie Clark and Makayla Whitaker.
Graves County will begin its season Tuesday, March 10, with a match against Ballard Memorial at home.
Graves County Tennis 2020 Schedule
3/10 Ballard Mem. 4:30 p.m.
3/12 at St. Mary 4 p.m.
3/16 Murray 4 p.m.
3/17 Calloway Co. 3:30 p.m.
3/19 Union City Tenn. 4 p.m.
3/20 Mayfield 3:30 p.m.
3/24 at Paducah 4 p.m.
3/27 Dyersburg 3:30 p.m.
3/30 at Calloway Co. 4 p.m.
3/31 at Marshall Co. Kenlake 4 p.m.
4/2 at Ballard Mem. 4:30 p.m.
4/5-4/12 Spring Break April 5 - April 12
4/14 Paducah 4 p.m.
4/16 at McCracken Co. 4 p.m.
4/18-19 **EAGLE OPEN**
4/20 at Murray 4 p.m.
4/23 Marshall Co. 4 p.m.
4/27 St. Mary 4 p.m.
4/30 at Mayfield 4 p.m.
5/4 McCracken Co. 4 p.m.
5/5 at Caldwell Co. 4 p.m.
5/8-9 Sectionals Paducah 9 a.m.
5/6 Regional Coaches Meeting X
5/18-30 Regionals X
6/1-3 State Ind. X
Mayfield hopes new courts add boost in 2020
Getting a chance to hit the court or diamond is an exciting time at the beginning of spring considering the heightened potential for rainouts on any given day.
At Mayfield High School, the excitement surrounding the upcoming tennis season has players and coaches buzzing due to more than just early season jitters.
The Cardinals and Lady Cardinals will be playing on a newly resurfaced court at Mayfield High School during the 2020 season.
Mayfield will have the opportunity to put their new court to work early on as it hosts Paducah Tilghman and Calloway County during week one, two teams head coach Mitzy Guhy and her squad said they're looking forward to facing.
"[I believe] singles players on both the boys and girls side should compete with everyone in the region this year," Guhy said. "We may not win them all but we'll be competitive. Graves is always our rival in tennis but we also have Paducah, McCracken, and Murray highlighted on our schedule. Ballard also gave our girls a run in the postseason in 2019 so we look forward to those matchups."
Like any team entering a new season, the possibilities for improvement are always present and for Mayfield, the aim is pointed towards getting both the boys and girls experience in match play following a wet training season where outdoor practices have been limited.
Although graduation took a hit on the girls' side of things, coach Guhy will return multiple players who saw action in postseason play on a second place regional team. Heading into the 2020 season with limited experience at the high school level, Guhy said she hopes to see offseason tournament experience translate into more success for her players this spring.
"Many of our players have been playing in [offseason] tournaments," Guhy said. "Although skills practice and lessons are valuable, the benefits of actual match/tournament experience should help. My young players also now have USTA and JTT tournament experience so I hope this will translate into more wins in the top spots."
For the boys, Tate Puckett returns as the top senior following a trip to state in doubles last season and is poised to make more noise this spring. The girls also have a doubles pair who will look to repeat as Molly and Megan Null will prepare to get back to Lexington come late May.
Mayfield Tennis 2020 Schedule
3/10 Tilghman 4 p.m.
3/12 Calloway 4 p.m.
3/17 at McCracken 4:30 p.m.
3/20 at Graves 4 p.m.
3/23 Murray 4 p.m.
3/24 Marshall at Kenlake 4:30 p.m.
3/26 CCA 4 p.m.
3/30 St. Mary 4 p.m.
3/31 Ballard 4 p.m.
4/3-12 SPRING BREAK
4/14 Union City 4 p.m.
4/16-18 Class A Tournament TBD
4/20 McCracken 4 p.m.
4/21 at Ballard 4:30 p.m.
4/23 Calloway 4 p.m.
4/27 Marshall 4 p.m.
4/28 St Mary at Noble Park 4 p.m.
4/30 Graves Co. 4 p.m.
5/5 at Tilghman 4:30 p.m.
5/7 at Murray 4:30 p.m.
5/16-20 Regional Tournament TBD
Mayfield's 2020 tennis roster was not available at press time. Please check back online for an updated version.