Jill Blevins and Courtney Curnutte captured first place for Chapmanville in the WVSSAC State Tennis Class A/AA Championships over the weekend in Charleston.
The duo defeated Oak Glen in the quarterfinals, 8-0. They then defeated Williamstown in the semifinals, 6-3, 6-2 before winning in the championship round over Lewis County, 6-2, 6-3.
“A state championship to me is something I never thought would be possible for someone like me to achieve,” said Blevins. “I mean if you really look at it, the odds have been stacked against us. People from smaller areas aren’t supposed to win. So that’s what a state championship means for me – the impossible. To share this title with a teammate is really cool. I have an amazing doubles partner who always keeps her cool and to know that was very calming for me. Courtney and I are like polar opposites at times when it comes to playing styles, but we work extremely well together, and I’m super happy that we share this title together.”
Curnutte was both excited to win the championship and to share it with a teammate.
“This championship means that I have achieved one of my goals and some hard work has paid off,” said Curnutte. “I enjoy sharing the experience with my teammate. I’m proud of how far we’ve come as a team and how well we’ve played together. I’m not looking forward to losing her as my partner in my following seasons.”
Chapmanville head coach Chris Kidd was proud of his duo and program.
“To say I’m proud is a big understatement,” said Kidd. “We won it at #2 doubles and #3 doubles in 2014 with Haley Justice, Cassidy Lewis, Myla Bryant and Sara Lambert, and now to do it in the top spot and see them be the best doubles team in the state and to be from Southern West Virginia where nobody thinks much of tennis around the state just makes me beyond happy. I felt the same way when Emma Bryant won states in singles last year and knowing how hard she pushed herself to win that title when we had never won it in singles before, and having her as a player for five years at that point made me all the more proud of her.”
“I’ve coached Jill for seven years and Courtney for five years along with their great private instructors Mark Spriggs and Mike Hanshaw, and there’s just something more special about it when you were there to watch them learn how to hold a racquet for the first time, to be there the first time they got a serve in or to win a match, and to get to see them do it at the highest level against the best competition is just the greatest gift you could ever get as a coach. Knowing how hard they’ve worked and all of the setbacks they’ve had as well to get to this point makes it all the more satisfying because I got to see them overcome things and not just have it given to them,” Kidd continued. Jill was close her sophomore and junior year, Courtney was close last year, Emma was close her freshman year and used that to fuel her. All of them did. Knowing they can persevere after the heartbreaks they’ve had in this sport says even more about them and the people they’re going to be in life, and that makes me happier than anything. All of my kids are great kids, and I’ve just been lucky enough to be their coach.”
Blevins, a senior, finished with the most wins in school history with 151. She had the most state tournament wins of any player in school history with 13. She made 6 regional finals, the most of any player in school history while winning two of them. She’s the only player in school history to be named All-State twice and All-Tournament. She set the school record for wins in a season this year with 65. She did all of that in three years since she lost her freshman season due to the COVID pandemic.
Curnutte, a sophomore, is the first player in school history to make All-State and All-Tournament in her first two years. She is the first player in school history to make a state final singles and doubles at the #1 position.
Blevins and Curnutte are the only two players in school history to make a state final in singles and doubles.
Both players made the Class A/AA All-Tournament team along with Williamstown’s Claire Stroble, Charleston Catholic’s Annie Cimino, Logan’s Jada Adkins, Lincoln’s Keri Yanero, A/AA runner up Jenna Butcher of Scott and A/AA champion Emily Lybarger of Lewis County.