Tennis prepares after setbacks

Hannah Heger, Features Editor

After many cancellations because of poor weather, the Manhattan High boys tennis team picked up the pace to make up their practices and place as well as last season. Previously the team placed first in their regional tournament, fifth at state and placed their fourth consecutive Centennial League Championship. The team plans to keep the streak going.

“We have a lot of experience back,” Brandon Starkey, head coach, said. “We didn’t lose a single senior last year so everybody that played last year is back this year.”

With many returning players to the team they have many goals to reach.

“We’re returning everyone on our state team and we got a few new really good players,” Carson Gido, senior, said. “So we have some pretty high expectations this year.”

With many old players returning, and a couple of newcomers as well the season is off to a rocky start.

“I think this we have a pretty deep team, so less time to get our rankings out and our matches have already start this week,” Gido said. “It’s been a lot different from other years, other years we’ve been practicing for three or four weeks but this is pretty much our second week.”

After having to cancel practices, the team has had to plan around smaller amounts of prep time.

“We had our first official practice on Wednesday, because weather knocked out the first two weeks and then the third week we had spring break,” Starkey said. “We’ve been trying to set up a ladder. So basically just been playing matches to practice and get everyone ready for the season.”

During the off season the team still practiced their skills and tried to stay in their best shape.

“I would use a ball machine or I’d go hit with one of my brothers or a friend,” Michael Turnley, senior, said.

While setting up their ladder the team is setting up the top six tennis players to bring to their first game at Washburn Rural tomorrow.
“Well, last year I had an 18 and 2 record so I hope I get around that,” Jonathan Grob, sophomore, said. “A lot of teams will be returning a lot of talent so the best thing you can do is just practice and know some of your opponents strengths and weaknesses.”

The team is hoping to continue their winning streak and keep the trend going.

“Everyone is motivated; they don’t want to end the streak,” Starkey said. “Since we won four consecutive titles, we want to keep that going.”