Tennis success all in the family for CR’s Parkers

CAMDEN — Halle Parker admits she was more nervous playing in the tennis state tournamaent a year ago.

The Caesar Rodney High first-singles player was just a freshman then, going up against the best girls’ players in the state.

“Now I’m just relaxed,” Parker said on Monday.

The Caesar Rodney High girls' tennis team celebrates its Henlopen Conference team title. Team members include  Hannah Morris, Claire Magnubat, Megan Jones, Caroline Pangle, Michaela Thorogood, Halle Parker and Natasha Sijan. (Submitted photo/Shirley Morris).

The Caesar Rodney High girls’ tennis team celebrates its Henlopen Conference team title. Team members include Hannah Morris, Claire Magnubat, Megan Jones, Caroline Pangle, Michaela Thorogood, Halle Parker and Natasha Sijan. (Submitted photo/Shirley Morris).

Indeed the third-seeded sophomore was in control for much of the match as she posted a 6-0, 6-4 victory over sixth-seeded Emma Derr of Ursuline in Monday’s state quarterfinals.

The win puts Parker back in the semifinals where, a year ago. she fell to Wilmington Charter’s Grace Shiau. That’s still the only loss of Parker’s high school career.

All this has become just a typical May for the Parker family, though.

While Halle was playing on the CR courts on Monday, her older brother, Trey, was playing at St. Andrews in the boys’ second-singles quarterfinals. The state champion last year at third singles, Trey won his first set on Monday before rain washed out the rest of the match.

The suspension of some of the boys’ and girls’ matches means they’ll have to be concluded today. That means the entire tournament will be pushed back a day, with the semifinals now slated for Wednesday and the finals for Thursday.

Both Halle and Trey are following in the footsteps of older brother Nate, who won state titles at third singles and first doubles for the Riders a few years ago.

The silumtaneous matches on Monday meant parents Claudia and Nate, Sr. ended up at different courts. Nate, Sr. was at St. Andrews watching Trey’s match while Claudia and Nate, Jr. were in Camden watching Halle.

While Halle may have adjusted to the pressure, her mom still feels the same nervousness.

“You never really get used to it, you always have anxiety,” said Claudia. “I just know she plays great, she’s dedicated and she loves playing tennis. … She handles it (the pressure) really well.”

If Trey makes it to the semifinals like his sister. that will mean both Parker children will be playing at the University if Delaware Field House courts at the same time. Their parents won’t have to decide which match to watch.

For Halle, it won’t be easy, though. She has to face Charter’s second-seeded Shiau again in the semis.

Parker lost to her, 6-2, 6-2, in last year’s semifinals.

“After that loss in the semis (last year), I know what I need to work on,” said Parker. “It motivates me a lot.”

Halle said she can also thank Trey for helping her get where she is now. The two play a lot of tennis together.

“He’s just trying to help me get better,” she said. “His serve is so hard but coming out here, the serves aren’t so hard. So it prepares me.”

“They talk about tennis all the time,” said Claudia. “Tennis is a huge part of our family. We all love it.”

Riders advance five

Along with Parker, all five of CR’s entries in the girls’ tourney reached the semifinals.

At second singles, second-seeded Hannah Morris downed Smyrna’s Payton Zolper, 6-1, 6-0, while top-seeded Natasha Sijan topped Smyrna’s Jacey Young, 6-2, 6-0, at third singles. The doubles’ teams of Caroline Pangle-Micaela Thorogood (first) and Megan Jones-Clare Mangubat (second) also won in straight sets.

The Riders are the only team to advance all five so far although several matches have yet to be completed.

Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 741-8227 or walter@newszap.com.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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