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SHS freshman makes improbable run to state

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

(Photo)
Campbell Moore
SIKESTON -- Campbell Moore knows what it feels like to be exhausted and she wouldn't change one thing.

Moore, a freshman on the Sikeston tennis team, put together an amazing run at the Class 1, District 1 tennis tournament, finishing second to teammate Jenni DeWitt and in the process helping the Lady Bulldogs win the district title. A district title that is the first by a girls sports program at Sikeston since 1991.

But the road wasn't easy. Moore had to win four matches in order to reach the district championship match.

"It was really hard," Moore said. "My legs were really sore and my feet were burning. I've never had to play five matches in a row."

After easily winning her first match, Moore defeated second-seeded Kaitlin Crocker of Farmington, 6-3, 6-2.

"At first my goal was to just get through my second match," Moore said.

"We were talking to her about (Crocker)," said Sikeston coach Lynne DeWitt. "We pumped her up to try and help her win that match."

Then Moore defeated Kayla McKenzie of Charleston, 6-4, 6-4, before facing Kennett's Hanna Lack, the third seed in the tournament.

"The girls from Charleston and Kennett had both beaten her earlier in the season," DeWitt said. "But Campbell kept herself up. The girls were cheering for her and kept her going and that helped."

Moore defeated Lack in a grueling 7-5, 6-1 match, propelling her into the final.

"Once I got ahead of the girl from Kennett I was like 'hey, I can make it,'" Moore said. "It was hard to get out there and play that last match though after that long semifinal match. It was a lot of fun though."

In the final match, Moore took on DeWitt, her doubles partner someone who has tutored the freshman all season.

"(Jenni) is always telling me how to stay positive and to move my feet, bend my knees and be patient," Moore said. "When I make a mistake she is there to tell me to shake it off."

Coach DeWitt said she has noticed how Jenni has helped Moore improve.

"Jenni talks to her the whole time in doubles," DeWitt said. "I think she motivates her and helps her throughout the match. I could hear Jenni (during the district tournament) keep telling Campbell to keep her head up and keeping her focused on the match."

Now, Moore must focus on the state tournament, something that is coming as a bit of a surprise to the freshman.

"It's awesome," Moore said of making the state tournament. "It's something I thought would be really cool when I first got on the team. I never really though I'd make it to state."

Now that she has, Moore isn't sure what to expect.

"I know there is going to be a lot of good competition," Moore said. "I just hope to get past a couple matches and not get beat right away. I know it is going to be hard."

Regardless of the outcome, Moore and her coach said the experience is going to be a good one for the young player.

"This will be a great experience for her to get there and see what's there," DeWitt said.

And with experience, Moore hopes more opportunity will follow.

"It motivates me knowing that I get three more tries to get higher and higher as I go," Moore said.

Moore and DeWitt will compete in the state tournament Oct. 19-20 at the Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield.