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January 20, 2020

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Embracing the Culture - A Team Tennis Season Review

October 30, 2017

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Apperson, Gillen having success apart now

A year ago Ryan "Scooter" Gillen and Kyle Apperson were a team, guiding the Rider tennis team.

This weekend they're friendly rivals in the Region I-5A Team Tennis Tournament.


Gillen was the head coach for the Raiders from 2008 through the 2014 fall season. He left for Grapevine, which had just won the Class 5A team tennis title.


The Mustangs are huge favorites as the No. 1 seed this weekend. Rider (8-10) is unseeded and will try to do some damage as the underdog.


"I miss Scooter," Apperson said. "It was different being by myself (before the recent hire of an assistant) but the kids have pulled together. Honestly, these kids would practice with or without me, that's the kind of kids we have."


So what's the big difference in being in charge?


"Having to be the bad guy," Apperson said. "I can be rough but I'm not the best bad guy in the world. He was a very good bad guy. He could bring the hammer and I was the guy who got to be fun and crack jokes. I thought he and I were a great team.


"This year I had to walk that fine line of trying to be me and having fun and occasionally have to be, 'hey, let's get serious.'"


Rider lost to Grapevine earlier this season and often the two would be there side-by-side coaching the same match.


"Some of the parents were making fun of it cause we're standing together, just like we'd never been apart," Apperson said. "He went and took over the state champs. The coach before him was Todd Petty who went to Texas Tech. Rider High School can be a good stepping stone if you want it to be."


Apperson expects his team to compete as hard as they have all year in the regional whenever the weather is clear enough to play. There are storms in the forecast. The quarterfinals are scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday with the semifinals at 1 p.m. Friday and finals at 9 a.m. Saturday.


In addition to his team, which won District 5-5A, he's thankful to have a ready group of volunteers that allow Wichita Falls to host events like this.


"We've always been able to cover it and before with 16 teams (instead of eight) we needed a lot more," Apperson said. "A big shout out to the volunteers."




Quarterfinals, 9 a.m. Friday: (1) Grapevine v. EP Hanks, 9 a.m., Hamilton Park; (4) Aledo v. Canyon Randall, 9 a.m., WFHS; (3) El Paso High v. Rider, 9 a.m., Midwestern State; (2) Lubbock v. Granbury, 9 a.m., Weeks Park

Semifinals, 1 p.m. Friday: Hamilton Park and Weeks Park

Finals, 9 a.m. Saturday: Hamilton Park Tennis Center

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