By Michael Smith
After doubles play, Grain Valley was missing a key piece to their team.
No. 3 singles player Carter Williams had to leave for another event following his doubles match Thursday at William Chrisman High School.
That meant the Eagles had to use a junior varsity player to fill in the vacant singles spot.
Enter junior Campbell Childers.
He stepped at No. 6 doubles while everyone else bumped up a spot. He won his match 8-2 as everyone on the team stepped up in a 9-0 sweep of William Chrisman.
“I was happy with our group,” Grain Valley head coach Randy Draper said. “Everybody played well. Many of them had close matches and we found ways to win them.”
And one of those was Childers, who stepped up to play varsity for the first time in 2023.
“It was fun,” Draper said of watching Childers play. “He’s a competitive guy. I am not surprised. He’s a tough guy and he’s athletic. Those kind of guys pick up tennis fast.”
Campbell said he was excited about the opportunity to help out the varsity squad. His primary sport is soccer but some of his skills in that sport helped him become a solid player in tennis.
“The footwork is similar and you know where your body can go,” Childers said. “(Soccer) helps me know how to get into the right place at the right time like you have to do in tennis.”
Campbell wasn’t the only one to step up for the Eagles as Blake Galvan and John Cassidy bumped up one spot to help Grain Valley win No. 4 and 5 singles along with teaming up for a 8-3 No. 3 doubles win.
Galvan took his singles match, 9-7 as he overcame a large deficit to take his match.
“For singles, I did pretty good,” Galvan said. “I was down 6-2 but I made a pretty good comeback. I liked how I served.”
At No. 4 singles, Cassidy took down his opponent, 8-1.
“I was driving the ball well and was getting deep,” Cassidy said. “My opponent like to come to the net, which can be an advantage for taller players. I did a good job forcing him to stay back.”
Other Eagles to win Thursday were Ben Drinkwater and Trace Compton in No. 1 doubles, 8-4; Ethan Miller and Williams, 9-8 (7-3 tiebreaker in doubles); Drinkwater in No. 1 singles, 8-6; Miller in No. 2 singles, 8-1; and Compton at No. 3 singles, 8-1.
Grain Valley junior Campbell Childers, normally a junior varsity player, got an opportunity to play on the varsity team Thursday against William Chrisman and won his singles match 8-2 as the Eagles won 9-0 in the team score. Photo credit: Michael Smith