Girls’ Tennis Coaches of the Year: Handley’s Martha Johnson and Trevor Scott
Handley’s Martha Johnson and Trey Scott — The Winchester Star Girls’ Tennis Coaches of the Year — led the Judges to a 15-6 overall record, the Northwestern District regular season and tournament titles, the latter their ninth straight and 19th in the last 20 years, and an appearance in the Group AA state quarterfinals.
In their first year as coaches, Johnson and Scott led the Judges to yet another undefeated run through the district and, thanks to a 5-3 win over Briar Woods in a Region II semifinal match that took nearly seven hours and was played at two different locations, got Handley back to the state tournament for the first time since 2010.
Q. Expectations coming in?
Johnson: My expectations were to live up to the reputation and quality of Handley girls’ tennis. Trevor and I quickly became a team with the same mission, to get our team competitive enough, both physically and mentally, to make it to the state tournament and for Jessie and Kathryn to repeat as state champions.
Q. What stands out about this season?
Scott: Just how much they all improved throughout the season. The first two matches were a little shaky, but right when district started everyone started playing better and they all peaked at the right time.
Q. Any particular match or tournament that you thought was significantly important?
Johnson: I thought our double, non-district matchups against Western Albemarle and then E.C. Glass one Saturday back in April were very significant. We had a chance to see a faster-paced, more consistent ball, and though we lost both matches as a team, we fought hard. The competition was a great learning experience. I was impressed with how our girls responded individually and as a team afterwards. They became more focused on our postseason goals.
Q. What was rewarding about this group?
Scott: That we got past where they made it last year [as a team] and they showed improvement from year to year, especially with Martha and I being first-year coaches, that was really exciting. To be honest they’ve always had the talent, but all the teams in the region were really tough and it could have gone either way, so it was great to see them reach state.
Q. Most memorable moment?
Johnson: Certainly the state tournament and being a part of that was fantastic. I was so proud of Jessie and Kathryn who have worked so hard to have this chance to repeat. For our team to qualify and make it to states was also very memorable. Hopefully it will leave everybody hungry for next season.
Q. Most difficult moment?
Johnson: A coach never wants to hear that a player is injured, or in pain, so Kathryn’s injury (Bock was sidelined with biceps tendonitis for part of the season) was disappointing. She is such a great athlete, so tough and eager to compete, for her to take time to recover made me feel bad for her.
Q. What players surprised you this year?
Scott: I’d have to say our No. 3 doubles (juniors Emily Smith and Eileen Wilkerson) did really well. They always seemed to have great matches and pulled out a lot of tough ones. And also Maddy Skedsvold, who started out playing No. 4 or No. 5 singles, but stepped up to No. 3 for us and started playing out of her mind. When we went down to play Western Albemarle she didn’t win her match, but she played really well and showed the talent that she has and what she can offer moving towards the future.
Q. What do you see going forward for next year based on who’s returning?
Johnson: We will have to see how this new conference works itself out. John Handley is one of the smaller schools with this set up, which could make things tough. We should have five returning seniors, which is a huge advantage. They’ve been leaders already and I feel good about our chances. Trevor and I really can’t wait to do this all over again.
— Compiled by Kevin Trudgeon