PARKERSBURG -Since his days of playing tennis at Jackson Middle School, Tris Spitsnaugle has followed a natural progression in becoming one of the top players for the Parkersburg High School program.
Once he graduates this year, Spitsnaugle will look to step up his game another level when he joins his future teammates at Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, W.Va.
"I visited a few other schools, but what it came down to was location," said Spitsnaugle, who recently signed his national letter of intent with the Senators. "I like the people there, plus I like that they are Division II. I like the competition - it all fit really well."
Photo by?Kerry Patrick
Parkersburg High senior Tris Spitsnaugle will continue his tennis career at Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, W.Va. Spitsnaugle earned All-Mountain State Athletic Conference honors this year.
Spitsnaugle's love for the sport never waned even though he began his career on the 'B' team at Jackson. The following season, he earned his way onto the Generals' 'A' team and played No. 3 doubles.
Spitsnaugle kept climbing the ladder once he joined the Big Reds. During his freshman year, he was ranked 10th on the boys team and received varsity experience at No. 3 doubles.
When his sophomore season rolled around, he became a permanent fixture at the varsity level. Now in his final season at PHS, Spitsnaugle is aiming his goals high. He hopes Wednesday's runner-up finish at No. 2 singles which resulted in All-Mountain State Athletic Conference honors is just a preview of what could transpire in the postseason.
He also plays No. 1 doubles with Alexander D'Costa.
"Once I reached high school, I wanted to do well, but I also wanted to take my game as far as can," Spitsnaugle said. "I've put a lot of work and effort into tennis. It's been a long 12 years of playing tennis."
Various individuals have contributed to Spitsnaugle's success, including PHS coach Pam Reeves and D'Costa.
"My eighth grade year, I didn't understand how to hit topspin," Spitsnaugle said. "So I went out with Alexander and he taught me topspin. I've worked with John Barr for a while and Pam has helped me a lot over the summers."
The All-MSAC recognition ranks right up there for Spitsnaugle, but perhaps a notch lower than his semifinal win at No. 3 singles at last year's state meet.
"Playing in states last year is probably one of my best memories ever," Spitsnaugle said. "In the semifinals, I played a kid from Huntington. I thought I wasn't supposed to win that match, but I did.
"I really enjoy the whole tournament thing. I would like to think that every day I go out on the court I can beat this kid. That's just the mentality I've tried to keep."
At Davis & Elkins, Spitsnaugle plans to major in psychology and perhaps gear his studies on how it pertains to the world of sports.
"High school tennis has been memorable - I absolutely loved it," Spitsnaugle said. "Last year as a team event, we played laser tag. How many high school teams can say they did that?"