The Perfect Mix
Playing together for the first time this year, seniors Wilde and Sanders dominated opponents all season and continued that trend Thursday by capturing the mixed doubles championship in District 24-3A at Madisonville High School.
This will be a return trip for Wilde to the regional tournament, held at Bryan High School on April 19 and 20.
She qualified last year with partner Bobby Baggerly, but Baggerly became academically ineligible and she had to play with a new partner, Dylan Carter and they were ousted in the first round.
It marks the third year in a row a Rockdale mixed doubles team has won district. In 2008, Alethea Maldonado and Evan Grandstaff were mixed champs.
Wilde is the top Lady Tiger golfer and has qualified for regionals in golf as well.
Sanders is the starting catcher for the Tiger baseball team which is making another playoff run.
Both will have a busy Monday and Tuesday.
The regional golf tournament is Monday and Tuesday in Willis and the Rockdale baseball team hosts Taylor in a crucial baseball game Tuesday night.
“Joe practices baseball until six and then goes to tennis,” says Sanders’ mother, Shelly, a former Rockdale standout athlete and tennis player. “Annie plays golf until six and then also goes to tennis.
“It is nice to live in a small town where you can do more than one sport at a time. If there were enough hours in the day Joe would have loved to play golf.”
It’s obvious they share a competitive nature.
“They are both extremely competitive and talented athletes who do not let their emotions get to them if they lose a point,” said second-year Rockdale tennis coach Sarah Warner. “Tennis is not only a physical game; its also a mental game. I have seen many gifted tennis players lose matches because they are not able to shake off a bad hit or two.
“Annie and Joe are able to work together as a team to get passed the anger of a lost point. They take a lost point as an opportunity to learn and make themselves into better tennis players.
“With every point won or lost, they are learning how to become better.”
Their only loss of the year was to Mallory Hartmann and Trent Richter of Thrall, regional quarterfinalists in Class A.
“They are an excellent team,” Warner said. “They were a challenge for us last year too.”
The Tiger twosome has won seven straight since then.
They had to scramble however, to take the district championship after finding themselves trailing to teammates Ginny Flores and Dylan Carter 1-0 after the first set.
They recovered to win the last two sets 6-2, 6-1 for the crown.
“When Annie and Joe lost their first set, they were determined to win,” Warner said. “They did not let the loss get them down, they took it is a challenge to overcome. It was an exciting match to watch.
“Just because both teams were from Rockdale, they did not let that interfere with their desire to win.”
STRING OF WINS
Annie Wilde and Joe Sanders have won seven straight tournaments. Here is a list of their 2010 championship results:
Lost to Hartmann and Richter of Thrall 9-7.
Defeated Tran and Nguyen of Arlington Sam Houston but withdrew.
Defeated Hickman and Hurst of Smithville 8-2
Defeated Behrens and Demney of LaGrange 8-4
Defeated Seberger and McCafferty of LaGrange 6-4, 3-6, 7-5
Defeated Paygay and Flippin of Caldwell 6-1, 6-1.
Defeated Weise and Beran of Taylor 6-2, 6-1.
Defeated Flores and Carter of Rockdale 6-7, 6-2, 6-1.