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Senior Spotlight: Hartselle’s Seth McKee

Seth McKee has spent the past six years preparing for his time to lead the Hartselle tennis team to a big finish to close out his senior year. 

McKee has been a big part of the Tiger tennis program since he was a freshman. This year he was the No. 1 player for the Tigers. He helped lead Hartselle to a 10-1 overall record and an undefeated 7-0 record in section play. 

However, his season ended a lot sooner than he and his teammates had planned because of the coronavirus pandemic. The AHSAA moved to cancel the spring sports season March 27 after Gov. Kay Ivey announced March 26 that schools would be canceled for the remainder of the school year. 

Q: When did you get started playing tennis?  

A: I started playing tennis at an early age and would attend tennis camps each summer. 

Q: When did you know you wanted to play for the Tigers?  

A: I knew early on I wanted to play for Hartselle High School. I tried out for the team and made it my seventhgrade year. I have been on the team ever since. 

Q: What was it like waiting for your moment to come?  

A: Each year I have worked my way up the ladder because I knew I wanted to be the No. 1 seed. The competition is amazing because no matter where you play, you will face their best opponent, and that excited me. I worked very hard and eventually moved up the ladder. I was the No. 5 seed my freshmen year, the No. 2 seed my sophomore and junior year and, finally, I was able to be the No. 1 seed my senior year. I was so excited and determined to make it to state. 

Q: What were your thoughts when you first found out the season would be postponed?  

A: I was very disappointed when I realized our season would be postponed. Given the date of return, we only had a week after that date to prepare for the section tournament and two weeks to prepare for the state tournament. Both teams had a great chance of making it to the state tournament, and this would have been a back-to-back appearance for the boys tennis team. The boys currently had a 10-1 record, with a 7-0 record in section play.  

Q: How did your thoughts change when you got the news your season was over, long before you had planned?  

A: To be honest, it took a few days before it sank in that I would never play tennis for Hartselle High School again. During the national emergency, we would still try to hit tennis on any court we could find open, just to keep our skills fresh. I did not want to give up on the chance to return to the state tournament.  

I realized God had a plan, and His plan is always perfect, so I decided to remember how blessed I was to be able to play this sport, instead of remaining upset because it was over. Tennis is a sport I can play my entire life. 

Q: What are your plans for after graduation?  

A: I plan to attend the University of Alabama and major in mechanical engineering. 

Q: What will you miss the most about your team? 

A: This was a special team. We loved and supported each other, and I’m not sure if there will ever be another team like us. That is what I will miss the most. 

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