ROSWELL, Ga. — High school sport teams going to state championships are an exciting opportunity that doesn’t happen often. For one Roswell high school team, however, going to state is normal.
Blessed Trinity has won the state championship for girls’ varsity tennis five consecutive years. The season starts with tryouts and deciding who goes on varsity or junior varsity.
After chosen, the teams try to practice with each other as much as possible. This can prove difficult at times since there are four separate teams and not enough courts.
The lack of space didn’t faze the girls’ team with their 23-0 record.
Alan Keel has been coaching the girls for three years and considers the school’s new rivals a challenge, if anything.
“We are in a new classification this year, which puts us against opponents we’re not used to. I was always worried every time we played St. Pius and Woodward,” said Keel. “They are the two that have been playing for state titles as well, and then we moved into their category.”
The biggest obstacle the team will have to overcome next year will be losing six seniors, one of whom, Kourtney Keegan, has been with the team her entire high school career.
“It’s going to be hard losing Kourtney and the other five seniors. Four of that group of six are going on to play college tennis. We’re still going to have a very solid team, it’s just going to take a lot more work,” said Keel. “It’s going to be a different team, a different set of circumstances, and we’ll still be competitive. It’ll just be a different dynamic without those seniors being here.”
Keegan, who has signed to the University of Florida on a tennis scholarship, has always been passionate about tennis.
She also has gone undefeated for her entire high school tennis career.
“I played a lot and practiced a lot and I had confidence in my game. I know that I am able to win,” said Keegan. “Just having confidence in myself and knowing that I’m the best one out there helps.”
As a true team player, Keegan hopes to transfer her winning attitude onto her new team.
“I’m all about showing class on the court and showing respect to other people. I learn how to get my game better and being a leader through my play on the court,” said Keegan. “Hopefully, that’ll transfer onto the other players on the team as well, and make us all a better team.”
The girls’ team isn’t the only group of winners at BT. The boys’ varsity tennis program also won the state championship this year.
After finishing with a 17-8 record, the team defeated Westminster, earning their second tennis championship.
Tim Weidner started coaching the varsity boys’ tennis team after their first state win in 2010.
“With eight losses, we had our share of disappointment. But we played lots of tough competition from bigger schools, and some from smaller schools,” said Weidner. “Our toughest loss was the 6-AAA region championship, when we lost to St. Pius X.”
The boys aren’t worried about their next season.
“I hope we continue to improve. We have a young team, losing only one senior next year. We’ll look to get better at the doubles game — with court positioning, communication and decision-making, as well as team chemistry,” said Weidner. “Plus, with another year of experience, hopefully our players can bring even more athleticism and consistency to their game.”
A variety of reasons could explain why BT has successful tennis teams.
“Good schools often attract good athletes,” said Weidner. “We have strong academics here at Blessed Trinity, and we have been fortunate to get some good athletes in the process.”