BOULDER — Lauryn Armstrong and Kylie Marks entered the world of tennis together, and have become one of top-tier Class B-C doubles tandems in a short time.

The Jefferson High duo both took up tennis their freshman year, and didn't even know how to hit a ball. They have now transformed into efficient players who qualified for the state tennis tournament, and now look to become impact players entering their junior season.

"I was just expecting to have fun last year," Armstrong said. "It was very much a surprise that we made it to state, and we are proud of ourselves for how far we've come."

According to Marks, both players improved as they continue to develop the synergy that has allowed them to be successful tennis players.

"I just learned that you need to have fun on the court because it is easy to get frustrated in tennis," Marks said. "I just learn that is easy to have fun on the court, because tennis is such a personal sport, and it is easy to get frustrated, so you have to work well with your partner, and other teammates, to make (the sport) a much better experience."

The ability to perform on and off the tennis court, as a doubles tandem, allowed them to experience a high level of success.

"We learn how to react with each other, and we learned a lot (from each other) personality wise, and a lot about the game (of tennis)," Armstrong said. " We've learned how to lift each other, and encourage them. We've grown fundamentally, athletically and emotionally together."

Marks and Armstrong attribute their quick success to their tennis coach Erika Morris, who cultivated the two beginners.

"We condition hard, and we spend a lot of practice time just hitting the ball, and getting touches," Armstrong said. "That is just as important as being in shape."

During the summer the duo didn't connect much, but they are still optimistic about into the 2019 season.

"We didn't connect over the summer and haven't played together, and this year, we are working on the fundamentals, and just growing from there," Marks said. "We can get anywhere, and have fun, and make it less than a competition for us."

Jason Blasco is the lead prep sports reporter for the Helena Indepedent-Record and a sports reporter for the network.

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