Even though the snow has barely melted from the courts, the boys’ tennis season is now in full swing.
The team has 16 players this season, which is two players down from last year. According to Mrs. Vasellas, the head coach of the boys’ tennis team, they lost two starters from last year, Angel and Max Moyer.
Regardless of the loss, Vasellas is hopeful for this season.
“Sports have cycles over the years. One year is loaded with players, and the next you end up losing key players. That is just how it works,” Vasellas said.
They may have lost a couple of players, but the team is still strong.
The team is led by Sam Innerst, the first ranked player on the team. Innerst has been starting since his freshman year and has held the number one position since his sophomore year.
Player ranking is determined by playing a series of challenge matches. Each player will challenge other players in matches and the winner will move up the ranking ladder. The players are ranked by the number of games they won against their teammates.
This ranking determines who players will face off against on other teams. The number one players will play the number one player from the other team.
The number two seed this year is Alec Shue, a freshman who made his debut on the team this year.
Junior Alex Ohme plays as the third seed.
Nicholas Stare, also a junior, is playing as the fourth seed on team, and senior Dylan Reichard is playing in the fifth spot.
All of the top five seeds are expected to alternate for doubles varsity with Dylan Reichard and Chase McKnight. So far, Sam Innerst and Alec Shue, and Alec Gayrama and Nicholas Stare have been paired for doubles matches.
Mrs. Vasellas has the same goal this year as every other year she coached.
“Every year my goal is to win the championship. It is always a good goal to have even though it is not always realistic.” Vasellas said. “I don’t know what kind of coach I’d be without a goal.”
The team came close to that goal last year, when they tied for third place in their division with Dallastown and New Oxford.
Ultimately, Vasellas just wants the best for her team.
“I look forward to the chance of bettering our record from last year.” Vasellas said.
In order to make that goal happen, the team trains intensely, as playing tennis requires more than just hitting a ball with a racquet.
The boys’ tennis team is on their way to do even better this year, but the successful group was not made overnight.
Their practices during the season cater to the different skill levels of the players and help everyone improve.
According to Vasellas, the practices start with a standard warm-up that includes stretching and running. Afterward, the team practices singles and doubles drills to perfect their technique. Then, the fun begins.
“In each practice, we also try to include some singles and doubles play which helps prepare the players for match play,” Vasellas said.
According to Mr. Small, an assistant coach of the team, the boys practice their skills all year.
“We do a lot of off-season practicing,” Mr. Small, an assistant coach, said. “Players do clinics, lessons, and various other things to keep up.”
When the weather makes it impossible to practice outside, the players continue to train indoors.
“From December to the first day of practice, we go indoors at Wisehaven to play and practice,” Vasellas said. “This would be only one time per week for the students who want to participate however, several of the players take lessons or clinics or play in leagues in addition.”
The summer is also a critical time for tennis training.
“During the summer we have open courts where the players can work on skills and play,” Vasellas said. “We also had the players do strength training, conditioning and agility drills over the summer.”
The players do not take the opportunity to train for granted.
“This winter, I went to Wisehaven to practice with the team,” Levi Jones, a sophomore on the team, said. “I learned and became a lot better.”
Tennis may be a lot of work, but the players think the work is worth being a together as a team.
“I like the people that I got to meet on the team,” Jones said. “I have gotten to meet a lot of people who are of different backgrounds.”