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RHS junior Anna Woods is headed to a first-of-its-kind event in mid-July: the inaugural AHSAA All-State Tennis Match.

RHS junior to compete with tennis All-Stars

It’s the first year for the AHSAA All-Star Tennis match, and a Russellville player will be among the ranks of elite tennis juniors from across the state.

Lady Golden Tiger Anna Woods was chosen by the AHSAA to participate in the inaugural year for the  All-Star Tennis Match – an honor of which Coach Charlotte Dollar said Woods was “very deserving.”

“You have to be nominated, and coaches all over the state nominate players,” said Dollar, who nominated Woods. “I’m very proud of her and all her accomplishments that got her chosen to go down there and play and represent Russellville. She a very hard worker … so her hard work is paying off for her.”

In addition to being RHS’ top girls tennis player, Dollar said Woods is also a good teacher of the sport and someone Dollar frequently looks to for assistance in teaching and helping younger players.

“She was our No. 1 all year, representing us at our highest court, and she played really well all year,” Dollar said. “Of course everywhere we went, she played everyone else’s best player. Most everybody has a really good No. 1, so that’s a really tough spot to play in. You’re going to hit hard competition no matter where you go.”

All players on the All-Star team will be rising juniors. “It’s kind of like a showcase for next year’s season,” said Dollar, adding she is excited to go down to Montgomery and see Woods play. “It’s going to give a lot of kids a chance to go play, and I’m hoping colleges will come in and take a look at these kids and give them a chance to show their skills.”

Dollar had the privilege of notifying Woods that she had been chosen.

“She was very excited – thrilled I would say – to find out she had been selected,” said Dollar, who added she did not tell Woods she was being nominated. “I didn’t want her to be disappointed if she didn’t get it because it’s a hard thing to be selected, so I wasn’t going to mention it to her unless she got it.”

Woods said she is glad for the opportunity.

“It was super exciting. I’m looking forward to going, and I think it’s a great opportunity for me to improve as a player and learn a lot more,” said Woods, who has been playing tennis for five years. “It’s just a sport you can play forever, and you don’t have to have a whole team to play. It’s a great sport to learn. I think it’s something everybody should do.”

Woods will play in Montgomery July 18.

“I’m going down to support her, of course,” said Dollar, “and I’m looking forward to the chance to get to see her play.”

Woods said her parents, Danny and Sheila Woods, were also happy for her. 

“My mom was super excited, and my dad was proud,” Woods said.

“I’m going forward to her senior year,” Dollar added. “I think she is going to lead us to great things.”

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