Harding’s Taryn Simmers blossoms on the tennis court


MARION — Even though her older sister Tyler Simmers played girls tennis at Marion Harding, Taryn Simmers did not. Instead, she was a volleyball player.

At least she thought she was a volleyball player until a talk with Blaine Pitts, the tennis coach for the Presidents, opened her mind to a different possibility.

“When I was in middle school, I played volleyball,” Taryn Simmers said. “He got me out onto the tennis court and saw something in me thankfully. He’s put in so much time and effort. He sees the things I need that I don’t see in myself.”

Pitts remembers the initial encounter and tennis pitch. It happened at a graduation party when Taryn finished eighth grade at Grant Middle School.

“I’m always looking for some athletes who could maybe play the sport. Her sister turned out pretty good,” he said. “I said why don’t you play tennis with your sister. She said she was a volleyball player. I said to come to a couple clinics this summer and give it a try.”

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