Tennis gets a fresh start

Katelyn Morgan, writer

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Spring season is upon us, and it’s a season full of change, growth and lasts. For the Hays tennis it’s a season full of emotions. For the first time in the past 4 years the tennis team finally has a solid, consistent, here-to-stay coach.

Having a new coach is always hard and exciting and some athletes have an easier time adjusting than others.

“Since tennis has had so many coaches in the past years, it’s really nice knowing we have finally found our permanent coach” Abigail Benedict, 10, said. This year’s seniors have had a new coach every year since their freshman year, so they weren’t fully on-board with a new coach at the beginning of the school year.  

“Well, originally I had some resentment towards the new coach because in the three years I’ve been in tennis, I’ve had three different coaches. So I felt like this coach would do the same thing as the rest. But the first meeting we had with him he assured us that he wanted to help this program by doing the correct funding, getting us the right uniforms, push us more than we’ve ever been pushed, motivate us, and let us also know he wasn’t leaving. Within the half semester Coach (Jeff) Mckinley and Coach (Corby) Brown have been here for us they’ve made a drastic difference in our team. Everything he promised in the beginning has come true,” Olivia Lozano, 12, said.

The new coaches are doing a great job at gaining the trust and respect of the players. Coach McKinley and Coach Brown have made new changes to the tennis program and the changes have produced great outcome for the players.

“My serves have definitely gotten a lot better since last year,” Alex Gore, 12, said. Having a good serve is key to winning tennis matches. In tennis the more consistent you can be the chance of  winning improve. In addition to serves, speed plays an important role to winning a match.

“I’ve added a lot more spin and speed to my hits,” Benedict said. The new changes to the tennis program have helped improve each player’s skill individual but has helped improve the team as a whole.

“One thing that has improved is the team dynamic. It still has a long way to go, but we’ve all gotten closer and have learned to respect each other, but also we’ve learned how to cheer each other on and encourage each other. We’re finally starting to feel like a team. It’s bittersweet because we’re all finally clicking senior year” said Kennedy Fehrenbacher, 12. For the seniors it’s a bittersweet season. It’s their last season to play for Hays, but also an opportunity to leave a legacy behind for all future players.

“I’m glad I could finish my last year on the tennis team with Coach McKinley. It’s all bittersweet to me. I’m very sad to be leaving all my friends and fellow teammates but I’m happy an actual program has finally been established to take care of them,” Lozano said. This year’s seniors have made an impact on their younger teammates leaving the future of the team in good hands

“They’ve reminded me why I love playing sports. They have become family. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye, but it challenges me to work hard to one day be as good of a leader as they are,” Benedict said.  

The tennis season has just begun and already girls tennis team is excelling in tournaments. The new coaches, new program and new team atmosphere is carrying over in tournaments and the team couldn’t be more proud or excited for the rest of the season.