Foard tennis wins back-to-back conference titles

Michael Christopher
Sports Editor

From one title to the next, the Fred T. Foard boys tennis team showed no signs of having trouble transition from last year's Northwestern 3A/4A conference to this season's play in the Northwestern Foothills 2A.

The end result was the same. The Tigers are conference champions, and back-to-back to boot.
"It's good. The fact that most of us have never really played tennis before and for us to pick it up on it Coach Gettys does a great job of getting involved with us and being that coach that everybody wants, and it's just an exciting thing," Foard senior and No. 2 singles player Holden Aldridge said.

Perhaps the most deceiving player on the team is Aldridge. An offensive lineman on the football team, but the senior doesn't let his size get in the way of his play.
"Playing football definitely helps. It helps me with footwork as well," he said. "People ask me my record and I just tell them I made it to regionals a couple of times. And they think you've got to be kidding me there's no way. It's a fun factor."

Foard finished with a 6-0 mark this season after last year's 6-1 record in Northwestern 3A/4A play.
"Of course it feels good. We only play each person in our conference once so you pretty much have to go undefeated and we were fortunate to do that," Foard tennis coach Ryan Gettys said. "That felt really good."

Aldridge thinks the Tigers could make a strong run into the 2A postseason.
"I think we've got a good chance to take this thing far. We've got the conference tournament coming up next week," he said. "I think we could easily be making it to the third round even more possible if we play like we should."

The Tigers, who are 5-0 at home, have matched last year's win total and are currently 9-2 overall.
"It honestly means a lot. We put in a lot of work in practice and stuff. To know that we're the best team in the conference feels really good," Foard senior and No. 1 singles player Eli Mathews said. "I think me and my doubles partner Holden, I think we have a really good shot at regionals and maybe even state."

Gettys said winning last year's conference title gave his players confidence that carried into this year.
"When I first starting coaching here we were hoping to get some points and win a game here or there. Now we walk in expecting to win so it's a big difference just the way they go in thinking and how they perceive themselves," the Foard coach said.

Mathews echoed that sentiment when asked about how his team was perceived coming into a new conference.
"I'm sure people probably thought we weren't that great. We don't look like we're the average tennis player I guess you could say," he said. "I mean we don't look like we'd be that good but then we give them a run for their money. It's definitely different after we play them."