Wilkes Central High School Athletics


East cruises past Eagles


The East Wilkes girls’ tennis team hit the halfway mark of its regular season schedule on Wednesday afternoon and Head Coach Aaron Simmons feels his team is in good shape to make a run at the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference championship. East Wilkes certainly helped itself out with a 9-0 win against Wilkes Central in Ronda to move to 4-1 in the league and 6-3 overall. “We’ve played a lot of good teams and I think with every single match, we’ve become more and more competitive and we’ve done a better job of taking care of business against teams that we should take care of business against,” said Simmons. “Wilkes Central is on the rise. I think their one-through-six is getting a whole lot better so we’re really happy with how tonight turned out.” The Cardinals quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to wins from the bottom third of their top six. Abby Reeves and Leah Nance, East Wilkes’ No. 5 and No. 6 singles players, bested Wilkes Central’s Morgan Blackburn and Destiny Vickers 6-0, 6-0 in each match. Reeves also joined Kari Hodges in No. 2 doubles action to pick up an 8-0 win against Vickers and her twin sister, Trinity. “Abby and Kari haven’t played a whole lot together but they won the conference exhibition tournament last year so I don’t have a lot of concern putting those two together,” said Simmons. “They have great ground strokes; they just have to play more confident at the net.” The Eagles, who dropped to 2-3 on the season and in the league, entered the fall season without their top three singles players from last year. Wilkes Central is also adjusting to a new head coach as Susan Buchanan took over for long-time coach, Perry Snipes. Despite limited practice, Buchanan has seen plenty of progress from all of her players through five games. “We’ve only been practicing and playing for five weeks and I think we’re doing really well. We’ve won two matches, we know what we’ve got to do,” said Buchanan.“They’ve had all summer to practice and play and our girls hadn’t picked up a racket since the season ended last fall. It takes 12 weeks to get back to where you were last year and our girls know what they’ve got to do.” East Wilkes is also going through an adjustment this fall with Maddie Lester making the transition to the Cardinals’ top singles spot after playing at No. 2 last year. A day after falling to Alleghany’s Iridian Lopez in a tiebreaker, the senior picked up the victory against Central’s Emaleth Myers 6-2 and 6-1. After a rocky start to the season against the likes of Mount Airy and North Stokes, Simmons has noticed an improvement in Lester’s game lately. “We spent about 30 minutes before the match working on Maddie’s forehand. She’s just had a little bit of a confidence issue there and she was a little slow with it through the first three games,” said Simmons. “She’s really picked it up recently and played really strong singles for us tonight. She’s really starting to pick up confidence with the forehand and that’s huge for her.” Brie Jarvis put the Cardinals ahead 6-0 at the conclusion of singles play after she defeated Trinity Vickers 6-1 and 6-2. Notes: Kinsey Crabb and Reeves picked up wins at No. 4 and 5 for East Wilkes, which played North Wilkes on Thursday….The Eagles also returned to the courts on Thursday when they traveled to West Wilkes