Veteran team paves route for rookies

Madeline Cannon, Staff Writer

With the end of the spring season approaching, the varsity tennis team is finishing out the season with a first time occurrence: senior captain Tori Pradier qualified for the regional tournament and junior boys Cy Zamanian and Nikita Polozov were elected to first team all-district. After losing seven seniors, the team has had to rely on a younger group of athletes as well as the strong leadership and talent of the few returning upperclassmen.

“We started playing tournaments and we’ve had a lot of kids do very well,” Coach CJ Cowgill said. “They are doing a very good job in the situation they have been handed.”

Led by Pradier and senior Evan Kerr, the team is making efforts to improve players’ overall aggression and to strengthen their game mentality on the court. The veteran players are utilizing their experience to help out the new younger players with skills and leadership.

“The season has been great,” Pradier said. “We have a young team this year, but we’re still doing pretty well in districts. Our spring season has started so we actually have a chance to make it to regionals.”

Although this year’s team has strong players, it is still continuing to work on eliminating errors and learning to ignore distractions, such as the crowd or the score. The coaches work to teach the teams how to execute points while focusing on not making errors. While the team is strong in the depth of players, they are missing dominant players at the top, especially for boys.

“Right now, our goal is to have players make it to regionals because we haven’t made it in the past few years,” senior varsity player Alex Samuels said. “But right now, our coaches are just trying to make us focus on improving our mental game primarily and just staying calm during matches.”

Along with making it to regionals, the team and coaches work to build on this year’s talent and to have more players state ranked. Each year the team practices diligently to have a better season than the year before and such continues to ring true. The tennis team is also in a less competitive district than in years past, so players have achieved success in district play, according to Cowgill.

“Of course, our long term goal is to make it to state,” Pradier said. “But we just have to take it one step at a time. We want to continue to have a better season than the last couple of years we’ve had.”

As the season continues, the tennis team plans to continue the successes it has had so far in the season. With many scrimmages and matches coming up, the team will continue to improve and experience great results at the upcoming regional tournament.

“We hope to get as many kids as we can to the regional tournament,” Cowgill said. “In tennis it’s a little different [than other sports] because there are only two kids that make it to regionals as opposed to four. But our simplest goal is that we have one player get that far, at least.”