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North Marion tennis hosts Buckhannon-Upshur for cold early season matches

Mar. 21—RACHEL — Braving the cold temperatures and fierce winds, the North Marion tennis team hosted Buckhannon-Upshur for an early season match that felt like winter on the second day of spring.

The scores seemingly flipped for the boys and girls teams. North Marion's boys swept Buckhannon-Upshur 7-0, while North Marion's girls lost 6-1.

"The boys have a lot of returners, and they work really hard," Head Coach Dean Brown said. "They've put a lot of time in the offseason and a lot of matches in the offseason, so they're really having a good year. The girls are really inexperienced. They have one girl back from last year. The girls are in the learning process right now."

The boys started the afternoon off strong in doubles. Huskies Jordan Cox and Quinten Curry beat Jude Snyder and Tommy Swift 8-0. Cooper Hancock and Isaac Davis won 8-3 against Cody Trainer and Jacob Ham, and Elijah Franks and Malachi Stewart beat Mitchell Tracy and Brayden Osburn 8-1 for a doubles sweep.

The sweep continued into the singles for North Marion boys. Cox shutout Snyder 8-0 in a battle of the ones. Curry defeated Swift 8-2, and Hancock beat Trainer by the same score. Davis finished the sweep by taking down Ham 8-4.

"I had to adjust my play style a little bit because I hadn't played people like that very often before," Hancock said. "But after a few games, I kind of figured it out and the rest went smoothly."

The girls team didn't fare nearly as well as the boys. In doubles, Huskies Megan Darrah and Shiloh Carr fell to Lainey Rowan and Mya Critchfield 8-2, and Bena Brocious and Adah Fancher lost to Cate O'Neill and Alexis Wuchner 8-2 as well. Eden Frye and Claire Huffman lost 8-1 against Taylor Parke and Patience Cook.

Darrah got the lone win for the Huskies girls team, beating Rowan in singles to the tune of 9-7. Darrah held a sizable lead before Rowan attempted a comeback and forced an extra set.

"This is my first singles match of the year, so I felt really proud that I was able to pull through and keep my head," Darrah said. "I was up 5-2, and I lost a lot of points, but then I was able to come back, so I'm proud of myself."

The win was the only bright spot for the girls. Carr lost to Critchfield 8-3, Brocious fell against O'Neill 8-1 and Fancher faced defeat at the hands of Wuchner, 8-0.

The conditions affected how the matches went, mainly because of the wind. Hancock said the wind often blew the ball and changed its trajectory.

"A lot of slow balls from the wind," Hancock said. "They get blown very far off court if you're not careful. Kind of have to adjust for that and aim right."

The boys having success and girls facing hardship flips the script from last year. According to Brown, the girls team qualified for the state tournament, and only one boy, Cox, made it in 2023. This year, Darrah is the only returner for the girls team, and she recognizes her role as the most experienced to help the other members.

"It's a pretty big leadership role," Darrah said. "We've helped with the uniforms. We helped with the fan gear. Plus just trying to teach the new girls to not get down on themselves and how to forehand and backhand, and really to have fun. It's a team sport, and they'll get better as they go on."

North Marion planned to play a match at Elkins on Thursday, but with temperatures expected to be in the 30s and the possibility of snow, the match may be canceled. If so, North Marion's next tennis match is a tri-match at East Fairmont and against Wheeling Central at 4 p.m. on Friday.

Reach Colin C. Rhodes at 304-367-2548