Vernon tennis program receives much needed donation

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 2:30 PM CDT
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VERNON, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A tennis court with no nets that is painted like a football field. That’s what you’ll find at Vernon High School.

The tennis program has grown over the past five years, from two tennis players to now nine, but what hasn’t grown is the team’s funding.

“We don’t have courts, so we travel 20 miles each way to practice every day in a different county,” Vernon Tennis Head Coach Laurie Simmons said. “Everyone had to provide their own equipment or as a coach, you provide it for your students or get donations.”

When the Jackets traveled to Tallahassee for a tennis match, Golden Eagle Country Club Tennis Pro Allen Long was watching and noticed the team’s outdated equipment.

“I’ve always had a passion to help,” Allen said. “I was at a match at Maclay School and I noticed Vernon came in and they had such a passion for play and such enthusiasm but I noticed that they needed some extra resources.”

So, Allen and his Babolat rep Tim Miles went to work. They got the team brand new racquets, tennis balls, and apparel.

“I’m really excited because I feel like it can improve our team a lot and make us better,” Junior Vernon Tennis Player Abby Chomos said.

“It was pretty exciting I didn’t really think it would happen, it’s something I didn’t think,” Junior Vernon Tennis Player Yoni Negron said. “But we were all excited.”

With no home tennis courts of their own which means no home team advantage for the Jackets, the Golden Eagle Country Club and Vernon are hoping to work together to change that.

“In order for us to host matches we have to have four courts,” Coach Simmons said. “Allen said he knew some people that could help us get that going.”

That’s just what Allen and some other country club members are doing.

“We’ll go into the Tallahassee community and see if we can raise the funds and also come into the Panama City area, we hope we can find some people to help us make this a reality,” Allen said.

With new gear and hopes for new courts, the Vernon tennis team is looking toward a new future.

To make a donation, you can contact Vernon High School directly at 850-535-2046.

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