Walters takes over HCHS tennis

Published 11:00 am Thursday, July 15, 2010

AHOSKIE – The tennis program at Hertford County High School is officially in one set of hands.

HCHS Athletic Director Charles Simmons recently announced the appointment of Natalie Walters to the position of Head Women’s Tennis Coach at the school. Walters already led the Men’s Tennis Team.

“We’re excited for Coach Walters to be taking over the reins of our girl’s team,” Simmons said. “She is very knowledgeable about tennis and has a real interest in seeing our teams do well.

“I think under her guidance, our tennis program will get stronger in both the fall and the spring,” he added. “Having her lead both teams is certainly a plus for Hertford County High School.”

Walters is a tennis player herself and that led to the opportunity she received to coach the Bears last spring.

“I started playing tennis with another teacher and word got out that I could play,” she said. “Several of the students were asking if I was going to coach tennis because there was a vacancy.

“After I talked to Coach Simmons, he offered me the opportunity and I was excited to take it,” she added.

Walters took over a boy’s tennis team that had a losing season the year before and also had low expectations because of a history devoid of success. She said the fact both helped and hurt.

“It was tough in a way because with no tennis program in the area, it is viewed as you having no real chance of competing,” she said. “We had to overcome that mindset first.”

The Bears had also had seasons where they didn’t field a complete roster in their conference matches, but such wasn’t the case in 2010.

“We had a full team all season,” Walters said. “That was a step in the right direction.”

The good part of low expectations was a chance to work to improve at a more realistic pace.

“I didn’t have the pressure to win right away, even though I wanted to,” she said. “I definitely think the boys were able to learn a lot. I know I learned a lot.”

The coach said she was extremely proud of the sportsmanship her team showed and of their dedication to each other.

The experience of leading that team gives Walters and advantage as she heads into her new duties with the girl’s team.

She said the important factor for both teams is stability.

“They’ve had a lot of coming and going over the past several years,” she said. “That’s a tough situation. They have to be dedicated to each other and I have to show that I’m dedicated to them.

“When we get those pieces together, we can get somewhere,” Walters added.

A graduate of King College in Bristol, Tennessee, Walters has two degrees: a bachelor of science in mathematics and a bachelor of arts in French. She grew up in Blacksburg, Virginia before moving to Floyd, Virginia during her high school years.

She began teaching last year at Hertford County High School after the school district offered her a position in the math department.

While some may believe the region is full of small towns, Walters disagrees.

“In Floyd, Virginia, the cows outnumber people two-to-one, so this area is definitely bigger,” she said. “They didn’t have a Wal-Mart and we have one here.”

She said she looks forward to being in Hertford County and the students are the number one reason.

“After I was here just a week or two, I felt responsible for them and committed to them,” Walter said. “When you get them on your side, you’ve got them. I’m not sure you would get that in other places.”

Walters and the girl’s tennis team will begin their first season together on August 1.