MATCH POINT: San Benito’s Derrick Layton hopes to make most of chances at his final district tournament

SAN BENITO — With the District 32-6A tournament set for later this week, one member of the San Benito Greyhounds tennis team has already made a name for himself in the men’s singles competition.

Senior Derrick Layton won three tournaments this season, taking first in the Kingsville and Brownsville Invitationals all the while defending his home court at the San Benito Tournament.

The four-year letterman has accomplished quite a bit in his time as a Greyhound and head coach Dan Hirst is ready for his last season with the young man.

“It’s been a great experience being able to coach Derrick and watch him grow as a player,” Hirst said. “I was fortunate enough to coach his sister back in 2001 so I’ve become close with his family and they’re real supportive of our program.”

Now that Derrick is in his final season with the Greyhounds, he hopes to leave a lasting mark on the program by doing well enough at the district tournament to qualify for regionals and, possibly, the UIL state tourney.

The Valley Morning Star sat down with Derrick to discuss his season and solid high school tennis career.

Q: How long have you been competing in tennis?

A: I began competing in middle school, so for the past six years I’ve played the sport of tennis.

Q: Why did you choose to play tennis?

A: I started playing tennis because my sister played and I wanted to be as good, if not better than she was.

Q: How’s your experience been with the Greyhounds?

A: Overall it has been a pretty good experience. I enjoy playing for Coach Hirst and I love being a Greyhound.

Q: What were you looking to get out of your final high school tennis season?

A: I hope to qualify for regionals, advance to state and hopefully bring home the title for the Greyhounds.

Q: What’s it like competing for Coach Hirst?

A: Coach Hirst is a very supportive coach and pushes his players to get them to play to their full potential.

Q: What are you going to miss about playing tennis for San Benito?

A: I will miss playing for Coach Hirst and I will also miss representing the Greyhounds after high school.

Q: What was it like to have your sister compete for San Benito and do you look up to her?

A: My sister is the reason I joined tennis and, yes, I do look up to her.

Q: Was there any pressure to play tennis after your sister left her legacy in San Benito?

A: Yes there was some pressure but I just continued to work hard, which is finally paying off.

Q: Who or what gives you motivation to compete at such a high level?

A: My parents give me the motivation I need to compete in the sport and push through the tough times.

Q: What would be your dream job?

A: I would want to be a professional fisherman.

Q: What do you wish to study in college?

A: Engineering.

The District 32-6A tournament is set for Thursday at Friday at Weslaco East High School.