Laura Chapman and Cleyton Splaine may be freshmen, but they are playing like a couple of old pros for the Boothbay Region tennis teams. The duo are playing No. 1 singles for the girls and boys teams this season. Chapman is having an exceptional season as she earned a ninth seed in the high school tennis tournament this month.
Playing high school tennis is something she’s anticipated for many years. She began playing tennis at an early age learning the game in the Y’s red ball program. “I’ve always loved the game since I started taking lessons with Chantelle (Arsenault),” she said. “I’ve watched the team play for years, and I’ve been looking forward to this day.”
Besides being a top tennis player, Splaine is also the Boothbay Region baseball team’s center fielder. Splaine has played both sports for several years, but this is the first spring when both sports converged. “Scheduling my time is a little challenging, but I’m not playing both every day, which makes it easier,” he said.
Chapman emulates her game after professional tennis player Rafael Nadal of Spain whose fierce baseline game and topspin ground strokes earned him 21 Grand Slam championships. Chapman also plays with the same Babolat Pure Aero racket Nadal uses, and she tries to emulate him in other ways. “I like his game, and how he thinks. He is very humble on court and he still became the all-time greatest champion,” she said.
Splaine uses a Head Radical racket which is distinctive due to its fluorescent orange color. He doesn’t have a favorite player. Splaine enjoys the game for its competitive nature. “I really enjoy that the game requires you to exert yourself both physically and mentally,” he said. Splaine, 15, has played tennis for 10 years. His mother, Peggy, introduced him to the sport. “I’ve played competitive tennis since I was 11, and I enjoy it whether I win or lose.”
Chapman’s goal is playing collegiate tennis. Besides her high school tennis schedule, she is often found in the Boothbay Region YMCA courts early in the morning practicing with her mother, Kristie.
So with two freshmen tennis aces anchoring their high school teams, Boothbay tennis could become a smashing success over the next four high school seasons.