This year’s Grand Marshals for the annual Warsaw Christmas parade are the members of the 2019 state finalist Rappahannock Raiders Ladies’ Tennis team.  This season the team had a record of 20-1, with the lone loss coming at the state finals. In addition to the team’s runner-up status, Laura Ambrose was a state finalist in singles and the doubles team of Laura and Reagan White won the region crown and  were state finalists.

The 2019 team was made up of #1 – Laura Ambrose, Sr. (UVA),  #2 – Mackenzie Straughan, Sr. (Virginia Tech), #3 – Reagan White, Jr., #4 – Taylor Vaughn, Jr., #5 – Rachel Hall, Sr. (JMU), #6 – Sarah Hinson, Jr., #7 – Katherine Davis, Jr., #8 – Hannah Williams, Sr. (Virginia Tech).  Other players on the team included sophomores Katelynn Headley, April Hutchinson, Emma Rouse and Karter Kues; freshmen Kaylee Childs and Laura Passagaluppi; and  8th graders Cameron Allen,  Maria Brown and Layla Gaines.

The road to success for this team was not an easy one. The 2017 team was runner-up to Radford in the state tournament. After losing four of the top six players to graduation, the returning players were determined to make it back to the state tournament. They quickly  realized that the key to returning was hard work and time on the courts which would refine their games. Playing on their own and participating in “open courts” workouts in the offseason, all improved immensely. Facing tough competition during the off-season was also important. The ladies participated in a Richmond USTA league during the summer, playing long-time, skilled players from large schools and private clubs in the Richmond metro area.

For the full article, pick up the latest Northern Neck News 12/11/19