Tennis: Coston seeks redemption – Slidell senior returns to state

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, May 12, 2018
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Stone Coston

STONE COSTON. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Stone Coston got an early lead last year in the finals of the Class A boys singles at the UIL state tournament.

The Slidell senior took the first game of the first set to go up 1-0 – and was feeling confident.

SERVE IT UP – Slidell senior Stone Coston works on his serve before practice. Coston is 14-1 this season and qualified for the state tournament for the second straight year. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“I won the first game, and I was like ‘Alright, let’s do this.’ Then I lost the next three and I was like ‘Oh no, I’m in trouble,'” Coston said. “It just kind of snowballed from there.”

Coston did not win another game in the match, falling 6-1, 6-0 to Lenorah Grady’s Dominic Gibson to finish as the silver medalist.

“It was tough,” Coston said. “There were a lot of things I think I could have done better. Now, I know what I have to work on and what I’ve got to do. It showed me that I have to work a lot harder to achieve what I want to – which is win a state championship.”

Next week at Texas A&M University, Coston will get his chance at redemption. He qualified for the UIL state tournament on April 20, defeating Moran’s Caleb Galvin 6-2, 6-1 to win the Class A Region III championship.

His overall record this year is 14-1.

Coston’s first match at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station will be a quarterfinal showdown with Knippa’s Carlos Koehl at 8 a.m. Thursday. If he wins, Coston will likely face Gibson in the semifinals in a rematch of last year’s championship match.

“I think mentally he’s more prepared going into state this year than he was last year, especially because he’s already played [Gibson] last year,” said Slidell coach Tyler Maynard. “Play-wise, he’s good enough [to win state]. Mentally I think is where he’s needed to work, and he’s gotten better in that area.”

Coston has worked tirelessly on improving his mental game since falling short in the state title. He believes the practice has paid off, as Coston has only dropped one match this season.

He said he got rattled in last year’s championship after going down 3-1 in the first set. Coston has no intention of letting that happen again.

“That was a big problem during that state final match,” Coston said. “I got nervous and angry, but now I feel like I’m calm and level-headed.”

Coston has been playing tennis for seven years. He tried several sports as a kid, and tennis was the one that eventually stuck.

“I was going from sport to sport,” Coston said. “I liked baseball until we got to kid pitch. I just got tired of getting hit. You get hit [in tennis], but it doesn’t hurt near as bad as baseball.”

Coston is not only an ace on the tennis court. He recently won the UIL state title in computer applications and is set to graduate fourth overall in his class.

Coston plans to attend McMurry University in Abilene and major in physics. He hopes to pursue a career in mechanical engineering and work at Lockheed Martin.

“He’s a good, smart kid,” Maynard said. “I like how competitive he is at everything.

“He’s represented us very well. He’s got what it takes [to win state]. I think he’s more mature now. I think he’ll handle the situation better.”

Coston is now just three wins away from being the first Slidell tennis player to take home a gold medal.

“It would be an emotional high,” Coston said. “I’d like to get a banner up there.”

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