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Jefferson tennis teams enjoy net results

May 10, 2003|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - For years, anyone opposing Jefferson in high school tennis could count on one common thread among the boys and girls - the Cougars were going to pose stern opposition.

This year has been no different for Jefferson's opponents.

Both teams continue to dominate in tennis circles - with the girls currently unbeaten at 21-0 and riding a 49-match unbeaten streak and the boys 21-1, despite a loss last weekend that snapped a 42-match win streak.

The teams get ready for the regionals Tuesday on Jefferson's courts and are the prohibitive favorites. Odds are good the Cougars will be well-represented at the state tournament May 22-24 in Charleston.

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Success is attained by performance on the court, but the opportunity to taste that success comes from the tutors, and the Cougars are fortunate to have veterans behind the scenes that are ambassadors of the game.

Boys coach Glenn Edwards is in his 24th season and girls coach Judy Marcus is in her 16th. Both go hand-in-hand with their way of leadership and have filtered their philosophies into one crowning mold.

"Glenn is the tactician and I'm the motivator," Marcus said.

Edwards, who succeeded at Shepherd College following his playing days at Charles Town High School (which eventually became Jefferson), noticed Marcus playing tennis at Jefferson and eventually got her into coaching while he was managing a local swimming pool.

"Glenn was in charge of the parent organization and he liked the way we worked together," Marcus said.

Jefferson's boys have ruled the Cumberland Valley Athletic League with 20 straight titles and the girls have taken the Apple Valley League title each of the last nine years.

"We've had success over the years but never anticipated the winning streaks," Edwards said. "We are fortunate to have excellent junior varsity teams and our summer programs are strong."

During the summer Edwards welcomes interested tennis buffs as far down as grade 3 from the entire region.

"Cities have baseball programs akin to ours in tennis," Edwards said. "We have had second generation kids playing in the league at Memorial Park. We have USTA tournaments and Saturday programs so something is always going on and kids are learning to play tennis."

The tennis program at Jefferson has come full circle, one that Edwards recalls back into the 70's.

"During home games matches would be played at Jefferson, at Charles Town, and even at homes because we only had three courts," Edwards said. "It was like waiting for the election returns at dark until everyone got back to one location. We'd be writing down the scores using a flashlight."

In 1992 the school board saw the future of tennis. It renovated the existing courts and built an additional six. That same year, the boys team won the Class AAA state championship team, led by No. 1 singles player Chaz Schultz. It also included Brian Russell, Shane White and Eric Cave.

"They were four tremendous players," he said. "We had a great year and everything fell into place. We've only had one other unbeaten year and that was last season."

Edwards isn't taking his team's regular season success this year as any kind of precursor to the postseason.

"I'll not bet the house on anything," Edwards said. "We tell the players every opponent is a worthy opponent and each match is a creditable match. Preparation is everything."

The girls, state runners-up last year, boasted a strong returning group including Cara Vogler, whose brother Casey played last season.

The boys had a rebuilding season in front of them, but their success has been through the breeding process shown in the junior varsity program.

"We are fortunate with our staff," Edwards said, noting the work of girls JV coach Chris Walter and boys JV coach Jay Wilson. The girls have a 47-match win streak going and the boys have a win streak in the high 40s.

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