Forsan seniors Sydney Holdampf and Kyle Stevenson have both been to the state tennis tournament in Austin before.
Although both of them were eliminated from play in the first round, they believe the experience will help them deal with the mental challenge of competing at such a level when they return to the University of Texas campus to take the courts once again April 30-May 1.
Holdampf and Stevenson played well throughout the year, leading Forsan to a first place finish in district and a second place showing at the regional meet where they each won in straight sets.
Tennis is a fast-paced game where reflexes are tested at every step. But to become a competitor, you have to be mentally tough.
“Like all sports, it starts in the mind,” Stevenson said. “You got to know in your mind you are going to win. If you think you might lose, you will lose.”
Stevenson qualified for state as a sophomore, but missed it last year. He is eager for another chance to prove himself.
“I am ecstatic,” he said. “It's my senior year, I would like to go out with a bang. I am keeping my mind focused. I have done some research on my opponent and I am ready to go.”
Stevenson and Holdampf have been playing competitively since seventh grade. Both of them credit family members for introducing them to the sport.
“I started playing with my aunt, and I have loved it ever since then,” Stevenson added.
Holdampf had a sibling who made a state tennis run at Forsan.
“I got into this because my sister was a senior when I was in seventh grade. She was the one who encouraged me to play,” Holdampf said.
Like Stevenson, Holdampf is confident that she will have a stronger showing than last year when she competed as a junior.
“I feel better about it this year,” she added. “I was nervous then, but I have got to to see it before. I am glad I get a second chance to try again.”
Cory Richardson, tennis coach at Forsan believes his two competitors have what it takes to see success in Austin.
“I like both of their chances,” Richardson said. "Both of them are great leaders and students. They both work hard and put in a lot of time outside of here. They are the kind of kids you would want to represent the school. Both of them are very athletic and very smart.”