HARLINGEN— During a season, a team will often put itself to a tough test in order to measure its success and, hopefully, gain valuable experience that will lead to greater achievement down the road.
For the Harlingen South tennis team, that tough test comes in the form of the Elite Eight tournament, which the Hawks are hosting this weekend, and head coach Noe Stillman hopes his squad will pass with flying colors.
Teams slated to compete along with South on Friday and Saturday are EaglePass, Edinburg Economedes, Brownsville Hanna, Los Fresnos, Roma, Sharyland and Edinburg Vela.
“Really, what we want out of this tournament is for our kids to get a good number of quality matches,” Stillman said. “That’s what it’s designed for and we try our best to get our kids the best competition available.”
While South has fared well against many schools in the Valley, Stillman and his athletes have set their eyes on greater pastures.
Senior Thiffany Yeupell, who competes in girls doubles, will be looking to make her final mark on the South program moving forward.
“My goal for the season is to place first in district, compete in regionals and then qualify for state,” said Yeupell. “I’m going to be more disciplined in my training and hopefully become more fit while playing the sport I love.”
Stillman has high hopes for Yeupell.
“Thiffany and her partner probably have the best chance of going to state,” he said “Hopefully, we can continue our string of returning to state as they play really well together and tend to dominate against most of their competitors.”
On the boys side, junior Hunter Lamon didn’t compete in the District 32-6A tournament last season and is eager for his upcoming matches.
“I’m really looking forward to this year since I didn’t make it last year, but I really want to take first place and then make it to regionals,” Lamon said.
The Elite Eight will take place at four different sites throughout Harlingen, including Harlingen South and Harlingen High, which is where the girls doubles girls singles competitions will be held, respectively.
As for the mixed and boys doubles play, those events will take place at PendletonPark. Meanwhile, boys singles play will be played at Victor Park.
This marks the first of three tournaments the Hawks will compete in before heading out of the Valley to San Antonio and Houston.