ROCKINGHAM – After a third-place finish in the first year of the new Sandhills Athletic Conference, and reaching the second round of the state playoffs, the Richmond Senior High School Lady Raiders tennis team placed three players on the all-conference team.
Congratulations are in order for senior Destiny Buie and juniors Jayana Nicholson and Greyson Way.
Although Pinecrest predictably dominated the conference team, head coach Mike Way was very pleased to find three of his girls on the list.
“It’s good, and itt’s a step in the right direction,” said Way. “You want them to be recognized for what they achieve during the year. Obviously Pinecrest dominates the (SAC) team, but we have at least three that earned it. I was hoping to have four, but you deal with what you get.”
Way noted that last year’s team, in what was then the Southeast Conference, also featured three Lady Raiders, including Nicholson and Way for the first time as sophomores.
The team will be losing three other seniors along with Buie; Kathleen Pittman, Elizabeth Burns and Meredith Stogner, and Way said he has five seniors returning next year.
“We should be able to pick up pretty close to where we left off,” Way said of next year’s team. “I’m going to have to beat the bushes and get some underclassmen. But leadership-wise and experience-wise, we should be okay at least for next year.”
In singles, Nicholson should assume the role of the No. 1 seed, while Way should fall into the No. 2 hole. Both Nicholson and Way will partner together as the No. 1 doubles pairing.
This isn’t Buie’s first time making all-conference either, as she was picked for the team two years ago in her sophomore season.
“It feels really good after having a rough year last year,” said Buie, who was the Lady Raiders’ No. 1 player. “I’m glad I was able to come back and make all-conference.”
Buie went on to say that after losing a few players from the year before and the conference getting stronger, she didn’t expect the Raiders’ record to be as good as it was. But she was very pleased with how well the team ended up doing.
Regarding future plans, the senior said she has applied to a few colleges but won’t hear anything back until January. She’s interested in possibly attending veterinary school. And although tennis might not necessarily be in her future plans, she’s not ruling it out.
“As far as doing it for a career or for the school, probably not,” Buie said. “But playing with friends, yes. I’ll continue to play.”
Below is the complete 2017 All-SAC team:
Conference Champion: Pinecrest High School
Player of the Year: Emma Gentry Landry (Pinecrest)
Jack Britt: Natasha Benson, Anna Buzzard
Lumberton: Kaitlyn McDonald, Anna Russ
Pinecrest: Maddie Arrington, Emma Gentry Landry, Caroline Landry, Lizzy McClymont, Chappy Ray and Claudia Ray
Purnell Swett: Abi Lowry
Scotland: Sarah Bowen, Cheyanne Strong