Rogers High tennis preview

The Rogers High Lady Mounties may return just one player who qualified for the state tournament, but that hasn’t dampened coach Matt Fulton’s enthusiasm for this year’s group.<br><br>

Junior Brittany Matthews qualified for the state tournament in singles last year, but should pair nicely with freshman Caroline Long at No. 1 doubles this season, Fulton said. <br><br>

Junior Erica Jaggernauth, who moved to Rogers over the summer from Bixby, Okla., will likely play No. 1 singles. Senior Cameron Barr and three-year litter winner Kayla Haddock will also figure prominently high in the lineup.<br><br>

Several talented freshman will also play key roles, too, , Fulton said. Seniors Lauren Henley and Abby Womack also return as varsity players. Fulton has high hopes for this group. <br><br>

“This team reminds a lot of the 2014 group that go second at state,” Fulton said. “They are great competitors. I think these girls can hang with anyone in the state.<br><br>

“Honestly, I think Erica can compete for a conference championship in singles and sets up well to go to state and make some noise.”<br><br>

Long’s sister, Haeleigh, reached the state doubles final and now plays at Arkansas Tech. She’s a player who has that same potential, Fulton said.  Freshmen Maria Camerlingo, Taylor Metcalf and Allison Blunden also figure in the mix.

“We’ve got a good solid line one with some good line two players,” Fulton said. “We good balance with four returning seniors and three freshmen. It’s a nice blend of experience and new blood.”

Rogers High Mounties

NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER Rogers High School's Payne Henry returns a volley Wednesday Oct. 5, 2016 at the 7A-West Tennis Tournament in Bentonville.
NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER Rogers High School’s Payne Henry returns a volley Wednesday Oct. 5, 2016 at the 7A-West Tennis Tournament in Bentonville.

Junior Payne Henry  is one just three varsity returners this season, but he will now need to step into more of a leadership role this season, Rogers High boys coach Mike Harper said.<br><br>

Henry  was part of a doubles team that finished third at the Class 7A state tournament last season, but he will have a new partner with the graduation of Moss  Matthews. <br><br>

“He’s gained strength and gotten a little taller,” Harper said. “We need him to be a leader. We want to make sure this group peaks at the right time.”<br><br

Sophomore Christian Blunden and junior Lucas Camerlingo are also returners that should make key contributions. Blunden has made big strides over the summer and senior Ethan Nguyen should provide key leadership, too, Harper said.<br><br>

“Christian has made a big jump over the summer,” Harper said. “He’s much improved and will provide some quality depth. I’m just not sure right now whether that will be in singles or doubles.”<br><br>

“We only have two seniors on the team and we need Ethan to provide that leadership. He’s a great kid and we hope he has a good year. We will depend on him. We have a couple freshmen in Nathan Fulton and Cooper Gommel, who have had success individually in the summer, but they have never played high school tennis.”

Paul Boyd

Paul Boyd

Sports Reporter at NWA Media
Paul Boyd is a sports reporter for NWA Media. His primary beat is Rogers Heritage, as well as West Fork and Gentry.
Paul Boyd

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