A member of the Carthage High School tennis team is taking a trip into unfamiliar territory. The Tigers are sending a player to state for the first time since the early 2000s when Spencer McNeese took part in the state tournament.


A member of the Carthage High School tennis team is taking a trip into unfamiliar territory. The Tigers are sending a player to state for the first time since the early 2000s when Spencer McNeese took part in the state tournament.

Jordan Ward, a junior, is heading to the Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield on Friday to take part in this year’s Class 2 2010 MSHSAA Tennis Championship.

Matches begin at 9 a.m. and Jordan is pretty excited about his chances.

“Yeah I’m really excited,” Ward said about his first trip to the state tournament, but his coach, Bob Whyte, is leaving the excitement to his young star.

“I think all the excitement has got to be with him now,” Whyte said. “Once he steps on the court, I’m just there to help. I’m just cheerleading and offering suggestions. My job is to not mess him up when he’s out there. He usually does a pretty good job doing the thinking on his own.”

So far, Whyte has done his job.

Ward has an impressive record of 29-4 this season and finished as the Class 2 District 6 runner-up to help the Tigers qualify for the state team regional tournament.

“We’re really excited to be here,” Whyte said. “Jordan has worked extremely hard and I think he is excited to get out there on Friday as well.”

The tournament is a two-day event with the championship rounds scheduled for Saturday. Ward knows he will have his work cut out for him if he wants to finish near the top.

“It will be quality competition,” Whyte explained. “Everybody won either first or second in their district. There will be no easy matches in this tournament.”

The seeding for the tournament will be announced before the start of play on Friday. According to the MSHSAA Web site, Ward is expected to play Sean Nanney of Francis Howell Central in the opening round.

“We’re going to come out on Friday and hope Jordan has some success,” Whyte said. “We’ll come out and let the chips fall where they may.”