Boys tennis teams hold struggles, successes this season

The boys tennis teams worked through challenges while also having great success this season. The teams aspired to do well this season by practicing hard and playing to the best of their ability.

Boys tennis takes place during the spring sports season. Players practice and hold matches on the many tennis courts located behind the school.

The junior varsity boys tennis team consists of about 30 to 35 players this season, with some moving between junior varsity and varsity. The varsity held about 10 to 15 players during official matches this year.

“We’ve got players who want to be competitive JV and we have the players on varsity. We have players that just want to be on the team, be there in the spring, enjoy the weather, have fun, learn how to play. It’s a lifetime sport so anytime you get in, you can play it for the rest of your life,” junior varsity coach Bryce Ellefson said.

Having a large tennis team may sound great to some, but in reality it can be a struggle. Because of the number of boys interested in playing school tennis this spring, the coaches have found it difficult at times to get all of the boys enough playing time.

A freshman player from the junior varsity team Mathew Harvey said, “Having a bigger tennis team means less playing time because the opponents usually have to play twice for all of us to play once. However, normally we have extra courts to play around on.”

An interesting fact about the tennis team is that the coaches do not cut players from the team. It is one of the only sports at the school that does not cut. They still hold tryouts to see each student’s team placement and to test their skills.

“We don’t cut because we’ve got enough court space. We have enough coaches and we cater to all skill levels,” Ellefson said.

Since many schools have smaller teams, many of the players from other schools have to play more than one match. The team is a lot larger than last year so it has not been a struggle before.

Junior Mason Warlick explained that he does feel the team is bigger than last year. The main reason being is because the freshman class here is so big. Personally for him this year, playing time has not necessarily been an issue.

Aside from some struggles, the boys tennis team has had a successful season. Many players improved a lot and reached their personal goals.

We have players that just want to be on the team, be there in the spring, enjoy the weather, have fun, learn how to play. It’s a lifetime sport so anytime you get in, you can play it for the rest of your life.

— Bryce Ellefson

“This season hasn’t had many struggles, but we had one match against Mounds View that I think was really difficult. Other than that it’s been going pretty smoothly. [For a goal] I just wanted to make upper JV this year and hopefully varsity next year. I reached my goal this year and made it pretty high up on JV,” Harvey said.

Additionally, the team worked on some technical skills that would help them improve. For some players, it was just about getting out and hitting the ball.

Warlick said that he “kind of tried to take a more strategic approach while playing. I think about the game more than just trying to play. Getting the edge that gets my opponent I think is one of my greatest creative strengths.”

The recent section tournament that the junior varsity team attended took place on May 13. All of the players did well and played to the best of their ability.

Before the tournament, Warlick said, “I think we can do well and do just fine. Hopefully, I can contribute to that hope of victory. In the past, we’ve done quite well in tournaments and whatnot.”

Many athletes have been involved in their sport for many years. Even through a global pandemic, Harvey continued to play tennis.

“I started in seventh grade when we were online. I was full online that year so I would show up after I was done for tennis practice. [Tennis has] given me a good pastime and just something to do with my friends and have some fun,” Harvey said.

A sport like tennis can be a lifelong hobby that people can play for years. It can be impactful in many people’s lives for many different reasons.

“I’ve always been a team sports player. In addition to tennis, I played baseball, hockey and football. It’s just fun to be part of a team and it’s just fun to be around students being a part of a team. I’ve played recreationally for 20 some years,” Ellefson said.

The team’s goals for the rest of the season were “keep improving, having fun, be good students and being good student-athletes. If we do well this season, fantastic, but it’s mostly about getting better every day,” Ellefson said.