by John Unrein
Watching a Grain Valley Eagles boys tennis match this season may lead one to believe they are having double vision. That is not the case. It is probable one would be noticing the identical likeness of Carter and Kade Compton. The twins compete on the tennis court for the Eagles in both singles and doubles matches.
The afternoon of April 9th brought 72 degrees and overcast skies with the Platte County Pirate tennis team paying a visit to Grain Valley High School. Perched on a bench or leaning against the fence was the watchful gaze of Eagles head tennis coach Randy Draper. A point is always made by Draper to consult with his varsity players after a match. Draper typically asks for reflection by the player and then provides guidance in the form of constructive feedback before moving on to ending with positive thoughts and a comment designed to draw a smile.
Such was the case as junior Carter Compton finished his play for the day before visiting with Draper. Grain Valley was finishing up going 2-7 overall in their matchup against the Pirates. The loss would move the Eagles to a 1-4 season record. The bright spot against the Pirates would come in the form of Grain Valley winning the number one ranked singles match and number two ranked doubles match.
“Since my freshman year, Coach Draper has taught me the fundamentals of tennis. I had never touched a racket before then. Coach Draper pushes us to win, just like I experience in soccer and basketball,” Compton said.
“I split my matches today going 1-1. We won our doubles match, and I lost my singles match. I have close friends on this team though, and that makes being a part of the tennis program here a lot of fun.”
Compton continued, “My brother (Kade) and I are remarkably close. We do not have to communicate about the typical stuff, we just know what’s up. That leads to us knowing what to do just by the looks we give each other.”
The makeup of Draper’s squad is diverse. Some of the team is involved in other sports or activities. The rest simply play tennis out of the joy received from hitting a fluorescent ball with nylon strings on a racket. Brycen Crandall is another example of a multiple sport athlete like the Compton twins who enjoys competing in tennis.
“I have five or six buddies on this team that I get to see every day for an hour and a half after school. Tennis also helps to keep me in shape. I notice the difference in my quickness and hand-eye coordination every summer when we start back up in football,” Crandall said.
“Tennis is a lot of fun. I lost my doubles match but won my singles match to end up with a .500 record on the day.”
Draper has shared with his team that the purpose of their non-conference schedule early in the season against larger schools in the Lee’s Summit and Blue Springs school districts was not meant to be friendly. Instead, it was intended to face good competition to make the team better heading into conference and district play. Draper is also aware of the unusualness in the circumstances of seeing players get caught up who did not have a tennis season last year.
“We have been in matches. Two of three we have lost we were close. Hopefully, by the end of the season we will have improved enough to flip those outcomes. We continue to learn how to organize and win points. Players who win points are the ones who learn to do it on their terms,” Draper said.
“We have the unusual circumstance of having two sets of twins in our top six players. I have been pleased with the Compton twins especially. They are two underclassmen playing our number two doubles and our three and four singles. I have been pleased with them and think they have a really high ceiling.”
The week of April 12th will see the Grain Valley Eagles tennis team travel to Warrensburg and host Truman High School.
Junior Carter Compton prepares to serve. Photo credit: Valley News staff
The Compton twins warm up prior to their match against the Platte County Pirates.
Photo credit: Valley News staff