Marlin tennis teams swat opponents

Scott Martineau | Special to The Log
Megan Hovenden is the top seed for the Destin Marlin girls' tennis team.

The Destin Middle School Marlin’s boys and girls tennis teams paddled Shoal River in opening conference play last Friday. The Destin girls' team shut out their opponents with a stunning 8-0 victory, led by eighth grader and No. 1 ranked Megan Hovenden, who trounced her opponent 6-0. DMS boys also won 8-0 with team No. 1 ranked Matthew Bomparola racing first to a 6-0 victory with strong ground strokes and a wicked first serve.

“We had a lot of returning players on the girls' side so I had high expectations for this team coming into the first match of the year” said Coach Ronda Pridgen. “They won every match quite handily, so it looks like all their hard practicing is paying off”

Melisse Martineau, Mary Hanna Williams, and Sky Rivera all beat tough Shoal River opponents 6-1.  Ashton Geary played extremely well and won 6-0.

The No. 1 girls' doubles team of Hovenden and Martineau paired to win 6-1. Anastasia Miller and Josie Meyler beat their opponents 6-2, while fifth grader Lilly Stiles broke through with her partner Autumn Rivera for their first middle school victory 6-1.

Marlin boy’s singles winners were Holden Zielinski 6-2, Grason Shackelford 6-0, Carson Miller 6-3 in a hard fought match and Austin Spann, who continued his good form from last year, winning 6-4.

The Destin boys' No. 1 doubles team of Bomparola and Jack Blanchard ignited the boys winning streak 6-3 and Adam Van Belkum and Jacob Abraham continued it with 6-1 win.  The No. 3 team of Carson Miller and Grason Shackleford cruised to victory 6-0 to make it a perfect day for the boys.

 “This was a great first win for both the boys and the girls,” said Coach Pridgen after the match. “I expect great things from these players the balance of the year based on what I saw today”

On Monday, sunny skies shined brightly on the Fort Walton Beach Tennis Center where the DMS Marlin’s boys' and girls' tennis teams battled Bruner Middle School. The great weather was a good omen for the Marlins as they swept both matches with ease. The girls' team won 8-0 and the boys 7-1.

The Marlins' tennis teams are undefeated as they head to Crestview this Thursday to take on Davidson Middle School.

Monday’s matches against Bruner all led to big wins for the Marlins. For the boys: Matthew Bomparola, Holden Zielinski, Grason Shackleford, Jack Blanchard and Austin Spann all won easily.

For the girls: Megan Hovenden, Melisse Martineau, Mary Hannah Williams, Ashton Geary, Sky Rivera all won. The girls' team has not lost a single match this year.

The DMS Tennis boys and girls are busy the next 10 days with matches scheduled with Davidson at Crestview High School on April 11 and Ruckel at home at the Sandpiper Cove courts on April 22. Both matches begin at 4 p.m. and the public is invited.