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Carlisle Indians added a new program to its sport’s venue – a JV tennis team.
“I don’t think we have ever had a JV team,” said Tom Kishpaugh, the Carlisle retired tennis coach. Kishpaugh, who started coaching tennis back in 1998 and continued on for 12 years, retired from coaching back in Spring of 2011.

Last year a new coach was hired for the girl’s team. Only one freshman came out to play, giving the team only seven members. And with three of its members graduating last year, no one really knew what this season was going to bring.

“It was pretty exciting. We had 22 girls come out for open court,” explained 2nd year coach Sara Ward.

New JV tennis coach Bert Wray gives Ward the credit for making the number of girls participating increase.

“Sara’s personality and the kind person she is are what made this team grow,” explained Wray, the high school gym teacher who replaced Kishpaugh last year when he retired as the boy’s tennis coach.

“I really didn’t know anything about tennis. If it wasn’t for Kish I still wouldn’t. I couldn’t have done this without him,” Ward said adding, “Kish stuck with me all year even though he wasn’t getting paid. I would not have been able to do it with out him.”

While Ward, who is a fifth grade teacher at Carlisle’s Intermediate School, may be new to tennis, she is not new to athletics or the competition world. She is a long distance runner and for several years coached the freshmen cheerleaders at Troy City Schools.

“There really are a lot of similarities in the two sports such as comradory and desire to win the competition. The big difference though is tennis is more of an individual sport where as cheering is more of a team sport,” she said.

Ward explained one of the reasons she likes to coach high school girls is because she likes to be a positive role model for the future generation. “I like being able to be a mentor and being a part of their lives. To be able to help them become better people,” she said.

Ward and Wray both hope because the team is young with only two seniors who will graduate this year, that there is a good chance we will see an even stronger team than they have now in the near future.

Currently the Carlisle Girl Indian Tennis players are 4 wins and 5 losses.

Picture: Coaching a girls JV tennis team first time ever at Carlisle High School is Burt Wrey with girls tennis Varsity Coach Sara Ward.