BOONVILLE - After eight years, Starmount unveiled newly-renovated tennis courts on campus last Monday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“They had to grind up our old courts and make a new base and do a complete renovation,” principal Junior Luffman explained. “The old courts cracked and there was nothing they could do without redoing the base. The courts haven’t been played on in three or four years because they had cracks so big you could step in them. It was time for them to be redone.”
The construction process itself took two months, but retired Rams coach Danny Macemore said he’s been pushing for new courts since 2004.
“I started requesting [new courts] on the budget in 2004, and we’ve been putting it on the needs for the past nine or 10 years,” he said. “I’m just thrilled.”
Once the Yadkin County Commissioners and the school board approved the $160,000 renovation, Yadkin County Superintendent Dr. Stewart Hobbs and maintenance director Donald Hawks “came up with the funds do it.”
“Everyone knew it needed to be done, but Dr. Hobbs and Donald Hawks came up with the funds to do it,” Luffman explained. “We want to thank our five commissioners and the school board for helping us get the funds for the courts so we could actually play tennis here on campus.”
“Being a tennis player myself, I’m very excited,” he added.
Prior to the renovation, Starmount’s tennis team practiced at Yadkin Park and the YMCA and played all of their matches away. Macemore reminisced about the last home match the Rams played - a state tournament match against North Lincoln in the spring of 2008.
Starmount will now play all home matches on campus, a home-court advantage that current coach Ryan Norman is looking forward to.
“This is going to be a tremendous help to us throughout the season to be able to have some home-court advantage,” he explained. “We’ve been going everywhere twice, so it’s going to be easier on me not having to be out so late every match. The team has hung in there; I’ve had a lot of girls that have stayed and been patient in waiting on this. It’s going to benefit us a lot.”
Norman and the retired coaches quipped that the Rams are riding a six-year undefeated run at home, even wanting to get ‘undefeated’ t-shirts made for the occasion.
Senior Ashley Griffin - the only girl who has played the last four years - had the honor of hitting the first serve out at practice on the new courts.
“I had Ashley, the only girl who has played all four years, hit the first serve out at practice,” Norman said. “The team all cheered and clapped for that; they are very excited.”
The Lady Rams christened the new courts with an 9-0 win over Alleghany last Tuesday afternoon.
Griffin, Jordan Shore and Kristin Nicks swept their opponents in straight sets, while Heaven Walters and Madison McClellan surrendered just three combined sets in their matches. Miracle Walters battled to a 5-7, 6-3, 8-6 victory to complete the singles sweep.
In doubles, Heaven Walters/Griffin and McClellan/Nicks swept their matches with Miracle Walters/Shore earning a 8-3 victory.
Starmount completed a 2-1 week to open the 2012 season.
In addition to sweeping the Trojans, the Rams topped West Wilkes on the road Monday in the first match of the season.
Heaven Walters, Griffin, Shore and Nicks all swept their opponents in straight sets, while McCllellan won 6-1, 6-0. Miracle Walters recorded a 6-3, 6-1 victory.
In doubles play, all three squads swept the Blackhawks 8-0 to complete the 9-0 win.
The Rams were tripped up by Wilkes Central Thursday afternoon, falling 6-3.
Heaven Walters (7-5, 5-7, 10-8) and Ashley Griffin (6-3, 6-2) recorded the only singles wins for Starmount, while the duo topped Frankie McKinney and Lindsay Vannoy in doubles play 8-4.
The Rams return to the court - their own court - with matches against North Wilkes and Forbush this week.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or email@example.com.