Doubles team advances to state tennis tournament

After two days of wins and losses at the Regional Tennis Tournament, doubles partners senior Sammy Hogan and junior Dylan Strickland beat Lubbock High in their final match and will continue on to state April 28 and 29.

Hogan and Strickland have been doubles partners for two seasons and said their good friendship off court makes it easier to play together.

“We’ve worked toward state all season,” Strickland said. “Every team we played at regionals was pretty good, so that made it challenging.”

Playing doubles makes tennis a team sport, even during the spring individual season.

“You’re not just depending on yourself, you’re also depending on your partner,” Strickland said. “It was more stressful, and there’s definitely more pressure while playing doubles.”

Hogan and Strickland said they are the first doubles team in school history to make it to state in 4A.

“We’re going to go, play our best and hope for the best,” Strickland said.

Hogan and Strickland faced the best teams in the region, including Aledo High, the school that went to state last year.

“We got to the semis of the Regional Tournament, and we lost to Aledo (2-seed) in a close match,” Hogan said. “The next day we played Wichita Falls Rider (3-seed) and won pretty easily. We got the playback and had to play Lubbock High (1-seed). The winner went to state and loser went home. We ended up winning 6-7 (tiebreaker: 8-10), 7-5, 6-4.”

Hogan said he hopes to get a tennis scholarship, play throughout college and win an NCAA title.

“My goal for the rest of the season is to win state,” Hogan said. “We don’t have any more tournaments left, so I can put all of my energy into that. I’ll miss playing with all my teammates and all the coaches and getting all their support.”