2017 SVHS Tennis

Friends, tennis rivals Ratcliff, Swann share Signing Day

HUNTINGTON - It might seem odd that two competitors from rival high schools would ever have their college signing ceremony together.
But for Huntington High's Ava Ratcliff and Spring Valley's Katie Swann, anything less wouldn't be fitting given the nature of their friendship.
"We're always together, really, and if we're not traveling together for tournaments, we go out to eat or go shopping," Swann said. "We're always together and we've grown up around each other, really." In addition to their friendship, the rivals were on the high school circuit with Ratcliff playing for the Highlanders and Swann representing the Timberwolves. While the friendship never changed, the rivalry helped push them to the level they achieved Wednesday in a dual signing ceremony at Huntington High. Ratcliff signed with Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., while Swann signed to play for the University of Charleston. Staying true to their nature, they signed on the dotted line at the same time in front of friends and family. "Our parents have always talked about doing it together, so it's just always been a planned thing," Ratcliff said. Prior to Wednesday's signing, friends and family spoke of stories involving the two over the years, including one during the Ohio Valley Championships when they were mistaken for twins during their doubles match. They are both also relatively quiet, which adds a dynamic to their friendship.
"We get each other without saying words," Ratcliff said. Given that they were born six days apart, perhaps it was fitting that they would become best friends and be mistaken for twins along their journey of growing up and playing tennis together. Through the numerous trips out of town for tournaments, they both had a goal in mind - one that was realized Wednesday when signed paperwork to continue their careers at the collegiate level. One aspect the duo enjoyed about signing to play collegiate tennis is it means they won't have to face each other as high school rivals much longer. Ratcliff and Swann both said one of the hardest things the last few years was having to face each other so many times. "It's awkward for a day, but then we're fine," Swann said. "Yeah, there's about a day that we don't really talk, but that's nothing out of the ordinary because we don't talk that much anyway," Ratcliff said, alluding to their quiet nature. They let their play do the talking and in West Virginia it has spoken loudly. Ratcliff and Swann made their way through the field at the 2016 state tournament in Charleston before meeting for the Class AAA No. 1 singles title. Ratcliff won, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, and helped the Highlanders capture the team championship. "I can't say that's my favorite (memory) because it was hard," Ratcliff said. "We both want to see each other win when we go to tournaments together." While they don't enjoy playing against each other, they both said their experience on the court in those situations helped drive them to where they are in the game today. In the future, the two will have to get used to talking with each other a little bit more as they embark on their collegiate journeys four hours apart with Ratcliff in Louisville, Ky., and Swann in Charleston.

2016 SVHS Tennis

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AAA, Region IV girls all make tennis semis

Call it the "Shootout at the Charleston Catholic Corral." In the state tennis tournament's most-anticipated Thursday match, Huntington High's Ava Ratcliff outdueled Michaela Kluska of Greenbrier East 8-6 in the Class AAA girls No. 1 singles second round at the Charleston Catholic High School Athletic Complex. Ratcliff's victory capped a stellar day for area players - especially the girls. Four players - Ratcliff, Spring Valley's Katie Swann, Cabell Midland's Channing...

2015 SVHS Tennis

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Spring Valley's Evans a champion over challenges

CHARLESTON -- Ross Evans certainly is no stranger to overcoming adversity. After a midseason change in schools, he went from Huntington High, which is steeped in tennis tradition, to Spring Valley, which had never advanced a player to the state tournament in tennis. To further complicate matters, Spring Valley doesn't even have its own tennis courts. Evans and his teammates traveled to the Ashland Tennis Center to practice on days when the center had availability....


West Virginia high school tennis tournament

Class AAA

Boys team scoring

1. George Washington 20, 2. (tie) Huntington and Spring Valley 7, 4. Washington 5, 5. (tie) Capital, Jefferson and Wheeling Park 4, 8. Parkersburg 3, 9. (tie) East Fairmont, Parkersburg South and Woodrow Wilson 2, 12. (tie) Morgantown, Nitro, North Marion and St. Albans 1

NOTE: Spring Valley awarded runner-up based on number of state champions.

No. 1 singles

Final: Ross Evans (Spring Valley) def Chris Jones (Washington),...

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