Competitive fire fuels Goode to strong season

Warren County's Jayme Goode led the Wildcats to regionals this season. She also advanced individually in both singles and doubles. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL — Growing up just outside of Austin, Texas, Jayme Goode enjoyed playing tennis as a youth. She played a lot with her older brother and her mom, but she was always on the losing end.

That competitive fire she got from wanting to beat her family has only thrived over the years and has benefited Goode. This year the Warren County junior became the school’s first regional qualifier in more than 10 years.

“It was so frustrating because I had to beat them, but I couldn’t do it because I was so young and now that competition in my family has really driven me to be the player that I am today,” Goode said. “I am very competitive. I compete in everything that I do. I compete in academics. I compete in any small sport, any like gym class. … I’m a perfectionist, so I have to use that in everything I do.”

Goode, who proudly said she can now beat both her mom and her brother, used that competitive spirit in one of her biggest matches of the season.

She was in a tight battle against Skyline’s Kaylee Venable in the Conference 28 singles semifinals with a regional berth on the line. Goode won the match, 7-5, 6-4, in a match that lasted almost two and a half hours.

“It was very emotionally won. Even [Warren County] coach [Katie Brennan] started tearing up a little bit. It was a big deal,” Goode said. “It was really hard to handle the nerves in that match. I thought I was going to be sick the whole time. I was so nervous.”

Goode, the Northern Virginia Daily’s 2015 Girls Tennis Player of the Year, and Venable had split their regular season meetings, and Brennan said she was really impressed with Goode’s performance in that match.

“It was windy, her match went on forever,” Brennan said. “She pulled through and persevered and made it through. It gives me chills thinking about it.”

Goode said she and her family moved to Front Royal when she was in sixth grade, and she had trouble finding a place to play tennis when she first got here. However, as an eighth grader she joined the tennis team, then coached by Jeannie Tallent, and she has continued to improve each year.

As a freshman, she played at No. 6 singles, then moved to No. 4 her sophomore year. The Wildcats lost four players from last year’s top six, including the top three, and Goode started the year at No. 2, but the first chance she got she challenged for the top spot, won it and kept it the rest of the year.

“It was definitely a big step going from No. 4 on the team to No. 1, but I think that I handled it well,” Goode said. “I really enjoyed a high level of competition a lot.”

Goode helped lead the Wildcats to an undefeated regular season. The Wildcats lost in the Conference 28 final to John Champe and then in the regional quarterfinals to James Monroe.

Goode also advanced to the Region 3A East tournament with teammate Alyssa Pauley. The pair played together last year as well, but weren’t in the starting lineup in doubles. This season they played at No. 1 and had a very strong year.

“We’ve played together for a while, so we are in sync with each other whenever we play tennis,” Goode said. “We know what each other’s going to do next. … We communicated well and we play well together. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we can play off of that.”

Goode also plays volleyball at Warren County, and said that she doesn’t spend a lot of time focusing on tennis in the offseason. She said she plans to play more this summer, and wants to add more power to her game.

During the season she spent more time working on her serve and she said it became more powerful by the end of the year, and that’s something else she wants to keep working on.

Goode said her main goal for next season is just to achieve many of the same goals she did this year.

“I’m going to try to be the best tennis player I can be, obviously,” Goode said. “But I also would love to be regional bound again. That was a big step for Warren County tennis in general, haven’t done that in a long time. So I think that’s another goal I’d like to set next year.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com