GERONIMO — It’s already been a very fulfilling year for Navarro senior Matt Chappell.
In addition to becoming the first tennis player in school history to qualify for the state tournament at the Class 3A level, Chappell also realized a lifelong goal when he signed on to continue his playing career at Division II Dallas Baptist University.
“Ever since I was little, I always had a dream of playing tennis at a higher level,” Chappell said. “And now it’s reality.”
The senior said that when he went to visit the school, everything just seemed right.
“I went and checked out the tennis team and all the facilities and I really liked that,” he said. “The people there were really welcoming.”
As mentioned, though, Chappell’s season isn’t over yet, as he will begin play at the Class 2A State Tennis Tournament Monday in College Station in the boys singles quarterfinals.
Blake Hoffmann, the head tennis coach at Navarro, says that Chappell has earned his moment in the spotlight.
“He’s had a phenomenal season,” Hoffmann said. “His confidence has grown in himself and his game. I believe that going into his senior year, he knew this was it — his high school career was (going to be) over. So to me, it was the confidence and he’s just worked extremely hard.”
Chappell enters the state tournament with a 25-2 record on the year, with both of his losses coming against the same foe — Wimberley’s Sam San Marco.
Chappell says that after begin edged by San Marco in both the district and regional final, he hopes to earn a third opportunity in College Station.
“They were close matches,” Chappell said of his battles with San Marco. “I’m hoping to meet him in the state final — play him and get past him.”
Chappell begins his quest Monday at 8 a.m. against Bradley Loftis of Dallas Madison. The winner will advance to play again at 2 p.m. against either Nick Bradham of College Station or Sean Jackson of Iowa Park.
The state championship match is then set for Tuesday at 9 a.m.