Fond farewell: Polk County tennis coach as Davis pleases final season

Richard Davis looked across Polk County’s tennis courts and waxed philosophical Monday evening.

“I’d rather lose that 5-4,” Davis said of the 7-2 losses to a conference doubleheader. “You don’t think I could have done this or that. We were beaten by a better team. ”

A bucket of tennis balls and other assorted items from Davis to Clean from Polk County’s courts, a standard post-match practice. One thing is different about this cleanup, though – it would be Davis’ last.

The veteran head coach has received his paperwork and will retire from Polk County Schools at the end of the current school year, meaning Monday’s matches are his last at home. Polk County has its regular season close to Hendersonville on Wednesday at an away match.

The Mountain Foothills 7 Conference standings in the second place out of The Wolverines (9-5, 5-4), with Brevard joining RS Central to receive the MF7’s two automatic playoff berths. Yet the losses have been nothing but damper Davis’ enthusiasm about the performance of Polk County’s players this season.

“This has been an exceptional experience,” he said. “To start with where we did at the beginning of the year, with our youth and inexperience, we know that we beat Hendersonville 6-4 in the conference and third place, to me that is amazing.

“Every second has been wonderful. The teams we lost were two better than us. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Five of the six players in the Polk County return will take part in Monday’s matchups, and Davis sees a program of whomever takes on a bright future.

“It’s a good group of kids, and they’re all so young except for Eric (Avellaneda),” Davis said. “I told them, guys, listen, all of you will be different players next season. If you put in the work in the offseason, you’ll be amazing.

“I’m proud of them. We had a great year. I hope we can close it with a win. ”

Davis took over Polk County’s boys tennis team in 2007, adding girls’ coaching duties in 2012. The Wolverine boys won two conference titles, the only ones in school history, while the Wolverine girls won four straight conference crowds in 2017-21. .

Davis coached state girls doubles champions Tana Harris and Hannah Jenne and state boys singles champion Ryan Heider.

“I’ve throughly enjoyed coaching tennis here,” he said. “We’ve had some lean years where we were 0-and-something and didn’t have enough players. But we’ve had some great years.

“I got to coach Tana and Hannah. We had a group of girls who won a conference championship in four years. Getting to coach state doubles champions and a state singles champ, that’s like the stars aligning. ”

Davis has lived in North Carolina for 34 years, with 25 seasons with coaching tennis. He also coached football, basketball, track and wrestling during his career.

He will be the longest in Polk County, and while he will miss the daily commute from his home in Cleveland County, he will be part of the Wolverine Athletics and Polk County Schools.

“It’s been great. I’ve been thoroughly enjoyed here. It’s been a good run, ”he said.

“When I knew I was going to a small, rural school, I just wanted to build a little bit of a program. I want to at least be able to say we can compete. The goal was to be competitive, and we had some good years. ”

MATCH ONE
Brevard 7, Polk County 2
Singles

1. Porter Schrader (B) d. Banks Barber 8-1; 2. Bradley Rising (B) d. Jack Smith 8-1; 3. Christian Prescott (B) d. Thaddeus Ruff 8-2; 4. Landon Pierron (B) d. Eric Avellaneda 8-2; 5. Victor Gomez (B) d. Gabe Alvarado 8-6; 6. Riley Ballentine (PC) d. Miles Felty 8-1.

Doubles
1. Schrader-Rising (B) d. Barber-Ruff 4-0; 2. Prescott-Pierron (B) d. Smith-Avellaneda 4-1; 3. Alvarado-Ballentime (PC) d. Gomez-Felty 4-1.

MATCH TWO
Brevard 7, Polk County 2
Singles

1. Porter Schrader (B) d. Banks Barber 8-4; 2. Bradley Rising (B) d. Jack Smith 8-0; 3. Christian Prescott (B) d. Thaddeus Ruff 8-6; 4. Landon Pierron (B) d. Eric Avellaneda 8-3; 5. Victor Gomez (B) d. Gabe Alvarado 8-3; 6. Riley Ballentine (PC) d. Miles Felty 8-2.

Doubles
1. Prescott-Rising (B) d. Barber-Ruff 4-0; 2. Schrader-Pierron (B) d. Smith-Avellaneda 4-0; 3. Alvarado-Ballentime (PC) d. Gomez-Felty 4-0.

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