Two top Memorial High School tennis players headed to Washington University next fall
Hallie Jeffers and Eric Kuo, seniors and tennis players at Spring Branch ISD’s Memorial High School (MHS), have both signed with Washington University in St. Louis to play tennis next school year.
“They are each the top recruits for ‘Wash U’,” MHS tennis coach Bud Booth said. “I am really proud of them. To have been signed this early in the [school] year is really something.”
Booth coaches one of the most consistently top-ranked tennis teams in the state and nation. This year, the MHS tennis team is ranked the number one 6-A team in the region and number three in Texas.
“The kids work hard every day,” Booth said when asked what it takes to have a top-ranked tennis team. “They play two to three hours every day, and we also include weight and mental skills training, and nutritional coaching in our program. It takes all of these to make a top athlete.”
The team has won the 6-A Regional Tennis Championship 12 straight years and the state title in 2017 and 2019. This year the varsity team has a record of 10-0 and has its sights on the regional and state championship tournaments this month.
Some of the regional playoff matches may be held at Memorial High School’s new tennis complex, which opened in fall 2020 thanks to the 2017 Bond. Coach Booth was able to provide input on the design of the new facilities that included eight new tennis courts, locker rooms, storage space and coaching offices.
“This is definitely one of the best tennis facilities in the state,” Booth said. “We really appreciate the voters for their support of the 2017 Bond and for making this possible!”
Booth has coached the MHS tennis team for 18 years, and often has former players come back for a visit and to play on the new courts. In fact, one former player, Brian Mandell, is a new assistant coach with the MHS tennis team this year. Booth noted that the courts are also open to the public to play on evenings and weekends, whenever the team is not using them.
Huge senior presence on Stratford High School tennis team
At Stratford High School, Coach Crystal Fain reports that the varsity and junior varsity teams are doing well this fall. Ranked 16th in the state by the Texas Tennis Coaches Association, they currently have an overall record of 10 wins and four losses. The team finished second out of eight area teams at a recent tournament in Galveston.
This year, 14 of the 26 varsity players are seniors, led by senior captains Haru Kimura and Leo Chen. Current juniors Anna Thielemann and Mircea Tatulescu are each having an outstanding season, and will be a strong senior duo next school year.
“One of the things I admire most about this varsity team is the community they have built,” Fain said. “From our strongest player to our lower lines, our kids support each other so well academically, athletically, and socially. It can be anything from tutoring younger players struggling with math to organizing dinners after each match. Our kids are some of the most inclusive and welcoming I have ever come across.”
The fall tennis season continues through October, culminating in the state tournament at Texas A&M in College Station, TX on Oct. 28. Look for some top finishers from Spring Branch ISD to compete at this level and bring home some shiny medals that reflect the excellence of the district’s tennis program. Good luck to all!