H.S. tennis squads, Abilene first responders team up to help Harvey victims

Tennis Classic for Harvey.jpg

More than 50 competitors took part in a first-of-its-kind tennis event, grouping Abilene High and Cooper players with Abilene police officers and firefighters on Saturday morning.

Twenty-three high school athletes were paired with a first responder in doubles matches to help raise money for people and schools affected by Hurricane Harvey last August.

"I had some of my kids ask, 'Hey, can we do something to help raise money for the people affected by the hurricane?' said Abilene High tennis coach Stacy Bryan, who collaborated with Cooper coach Trance Rosenquist on the idea.

Donations and money raised through t-shirt and hamburger lunch sales are going to benefit the United Way of Houston, and also school tennis teams that had facilities damaged by the storm.

"Even the courts, windscreens, equipment. So we are donating a lot of the money to go to help the tennis programs down south who pretty much lost everything to help them rebuild."

The Cougars were partnered with a police officer, while the Eagles played with a firefighter.

"It was way more fun than I expected," Abilene High senior Max Owen said. "I got a partner named Robert, and he was really out-going. He played in high school which was an easy benefit because a lot of the other guys never played before."

Despite a lack of experience or skill, the 21 firemen and 14 police officers enjoyed their time on the court.

"They've got skills! They're out there grinding and showing us some skills," said Bryan.

The two coaches wanted to include local first responders as a way to show appreciation for all their hard work.

"We wanted to say thank you to our firemen and policemen in town who do so much for us. It's turned out to be a lot of fun."

Bryan says they hope to make this an annual event and choose a difference cause to help each year.

Anyone interested in supporting those affected by Harvey can still buy t-shirts from Saturday's event by contacting Abilene High or Cooper.

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