GRC tennis celebrates 8 seniors

Published 5:52 pm Monday, May 8, 2023

As April turns to May, it’s a unique and, at times, bittersweet moment for high school seniors.

At the George Rogers Clark High School tennis courts last Wednesday night, eight senior players were honored for participating in the program.

“It’s a hard night because we’re losing so many seniors, but it’s a good night because I know they’re going to be going on to great things”, said Head Coach Seth Heinss. “They contribute to different parts of the team…they’ve done the work to show the progressive leadership for younger kids.”

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Outside the tennis courts, the eight seniors, Micah Watts, Barbara Sheehan, Jack Perdue, Hayden Cecil, Tennyson Prater, Connor McCraith, Raul Rodriguez, Anna Rogers and Mason Boley, waited for the night to begin with each having their senior portrait on display.

Entering the tennis courts, teammates welcomed them, as did parents and others.

Each athlete was introduced individually, beginning with Sheehan.

Many players have been involved in tennis for several years, honing their skills on the court.

Tennyson Prater, who has finished as 10th Region runner-up during the past four seasons, has been a part of the program for every year Heinss has been a head coach.

Not only that but Prater and Heinss have also connected away from the court.

“My first year teaching was his first year in high school,” Heinss said. “He was also a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes group that I got to lead in my first year teaching, so it’s been really cool to see how Tennyson has developed.”

Others, such as Raul Rodriguez, have less experience but are nevertheless contributors.

Rodriguez and Watts joined the Cards’ tennis team for the first time this year.

“He has a heart for others. He is quick to bring them into his circle,” said Heinss. “He’s also been one that, in tense situations, [is] quick with a joke but also quick to stay late and practice harder.”

After being introduced, each senior was applauded and presented with a gift bag, including a personalized pullover, pictures, a favorite snack, and a handwritten note from coaches thanking players for their contribution.

Senior Hayden Cecil acknowledged that he would have fond memories of his playing days at George Rogers Clark High School.

“It’s kind of sad it’s all ending, but it’s been a super fun time, and it’s nice to get some recognition,” he said.

Rebecca Prater, an assistant coach and Tennyson’s mother, mentioned being proud.

“We have students going anywhere from Harvard to Georgia to right here staying in our community,” she said. “We’re excited about their academic future, their professional future, and also that they continue to be great people.”

Of course, the tennis playing days for GRC’s senior class are not over.

After the final regular season matchup on May 9th, the defending 10th Region Champions will look to defend their crown starting one week later.

“Regions will be at GRC, so come out and support [us],” Heinss said.