Keene wins titles in boys, girls in the tennis district; longtime former Godley coach takes Chargers to new heights | Sport

KEENE – Keene Chargers and Lady Chargers wrote school history at last week’s District 9-3A tennis tournament, when both the university’s boys ‘and girls’ teams won district championships.

It was the first time in the school’s history that the girls ‘and boys’ teams won district titles the same year. In addition, a school record qualified 13 players for regionals. These two historic accomplishments both came in Debbie McFarlin’s first year as Keene’s head tennis coach.

“I’m optimistic and hoped the kids would all do well at the district meeting,” McFarlin said. “I am excited that so many of them will experience tennis in addition to the district convention. We have been working hard since January to practice at the same time, same day, every day, every week, for several months. We played in many 4A and 5A tournaments to prepare for our district convention. It shows that hard work pays off. We are super proud of them and can not wait [regionals]. “

In boys’ singles, Keene’s Tomas Lopez and Trevor Smith finished first and second, respectively. Keenes Tori Hensley and McKenna McCormick took first place in girls doubles, while Keenes Isabella Castro and Karen Rico came in second in girls doubles. Keenes Laci Malone and Christian Hensley took first place in mixed doubles, and Isabel Santos and Zachary Rogers came second in mixed doubles.

Keene’s Cole Ford and Noah Lewis finished second in the boys ‘doubles, while Kate Rodriguez finished second in the girls’ singles for the Lady Chargers.

The success of the Chargers at the District 9-3A Championships is one of several things that Keene Athletic Director John McFarlin said he hoped for when he hired Debbie McFarlin, his mother, as the school’s new tennis coach, and picked her up from his alma mater. mater. , Godley High School, where she taught and trained for more than two decades.

“It’s something we’ve talked a lot about over the years, how we would enjoy it, and how nice it would be to work together and for her to train her granddaughter and potentially her granddaughter,” said John McFarlin. “We have succeeded well. We are very lucky to have her. It will help us when we try to focus on our individual sports. It did not surprise me at all as she could come here and [lead our tennis program to great success] in year 1.

“It’s been a lot of fun. It took me a while to understand that she wants to be there every day. To get to see her on a daily basis as opposed to just Sundays for lunch after church, we really enjoy that. It has has been nice. More than on a personal level it has been huge for Keene athletics to have someone with her experience. She does a lot of things that make even my work even easier. It has been great on a personal and professional level to have her over here. ”

Debbie McFarlin said it was not an easy decision to leave Godley, but the opportunity to spend more time with the family shifted the weight towards Keene.

“I’ve always wanted to work with John since we’re both in the same field,” said Debbie McFarlin. “I honestly thought he would find my way back to Godley. But one day he called me and asked if I would be interested in coming to Keene as a tennis coach. It was by no means an easy decision. I have only worked at Godley, and I was there for 24. I talked to my principal, Kurtis Flood, and sports director, Mark Chauveaux, and made sure they understood that it was an opportunity for me to work with John and get the chance to train my grandson. [and possibly nine-year-old grandson]. “

Despite spending 24 years at Godley, Debbie McFarlin said her transition to a new work environment at Keene ISD was not too daunting.

“In terms of working at Keene, it was a little difficult to go into a new ISD, meet new people and learn new job assignments,” she said. “I only picked up the phone, ‘Thank you for calling Godley ISD’ once. Luckily, I knew a handful of staff here from John, and they were all very accommodating. Blue is my favorite color, so that part was easy. And I see my grandchildren almost every day, sometimes in passing, sometimes driving them home from school and many times to sporting events.

“I joined John’s coaching staff and felt at home. I trained youth girls in cross country this fall and I really enjoyed training Brynleigh [McFarlin] as well as the other girls who keep my eye open for potential future tennis players. John is a true leader and truly supports his coaches and athletes. He is a good communicator and consistently checks in on all the different teams. The athletes here, as in many small schools, are spread over many sports. We communicate with everyone and do a good job of sharing them. ”

Debbie McFarlin said she inherited a solid tennis program from Keene because of the work Coach Ariel Barnes did the previous three years as head coach.

“Coach Barnes has been a tennis coach here for the last two or three years,” she said. “We have played in several of the same tournaments over the years. Last spring, several of the Keene tennis players came to the Godley tennis camp, so I was a little familiar with a handful of Keene tennis players. She had several players to qualify for the regional meet last year, so I stepped into an established program. “

“Coach Ariel Barnes was our tennis coach and she’s done a great job,” said John McFarlin. “She filled the tennis coaching position when it opened a few years ago and she’s done a good job the last three years. I wanted to make sure she was on board and my mom came over and that was her.”

Not only did Keene experience record success at the district tournament, but there was also a program for Keene tennis earlier this year.

“We held the first Keene Varsity & JV Invitational ever at the Southern Oaks Tennis Club in Burleson,” she said. “Again, I’m glad the players can enjoy the pride of hosting our own tournament – side note that the Godley Ag department made the trophies for our invitational match and they were very nice. We attended High School Weekend held at John Newcombe Tennis Ranch with Godley and Eagle Mountain Saginaw. It was great to see them improve over a short period of time. I hope many of these first become a tradition. “

The Class 3A Region II tournament is scheduled for April 11-12 in Tyler at the Cascade Country Club.

Editor’s Note: This article will appear in the print edition of Times-Review on April 7th.

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