A week of outdoor practices kicked off the season and last week’s indoor practices definitely helped condition the team for season play.
This Saturday, the boys and girls varsity teams will see their first court action at home for the annual Conrad Invitational Dual Tournament.
Coach Kendall Griggs said, “The team has a long way to go, but has great strengths to build on from last season.”
He continued to say, “I expect quite a bit from my returning varsity players, both in match play but more importantly at practice, developing their game and honing their skills.”
Coach Griggs is assisted by Coach Greg Jensen, the guru of tennis in Conrad. “Coach Jensen brings so much to our team. He built and maintained the program and continues to come every day with enthusiasm and an intensity to teach the life-long game of tennis,” said Griggs.
He went on to add, Coach Stacy Aaberg will also be assisting with the girls’ practices throughout the season. Also joining the coaching staff this season are former players Stefan Sommer and Jamie Ries.
Sommer will assist the team all season when Coach Griggs takes a short maternity leave with his wife next month. Ries helped the team during spring break from MSU and will return in May to help the team on its way to state.
Coach Griggs ended by saying, “With the size of our team this year it is nice to have dependable coaches to help every player reach their potential.”
This year’s boys team is led by senior Calen King, who has placed at the state meet his last three years of play. The boys also bring back four other varsity players including the doubles team of senior Colter Knox and junior Luke Schlosser who were one match from placing at state last season.
Other varsity returners include Austin Zomer and Cameron Janzen, two sophomores who look to add depth to the team as second year players. Last year’s J.V. players who look to fill in the varsity slots this season include returners Terence Kleinsasser (10), Drew Drishinski (10), Konnor Bjelland (10), D.J. Mecham (10) and newcomers Kesler Martin (11), Steven Peters (11), Dan O’Brien (10), Brett Peters (9) and Austin Padilla (9).
The Varsity Girls team brings back seniors Courtney Anderson and Rachel Lamb, juniors Emily Weisgram and Jade Rodriguez and sophomores Kristine Warlick and Megan Fetters.
Warlick had an impressive run at state last season and looks to return strong as Weisgram also seeks out a doubles partner to make another run at the state tourney.
“The girl’s numbers are great with 20 total and 11 freshmen to really build the program,” says Griggs.
Returning from last season and looking to make their presence felt on the varsity squad include sophomores Moranda Brenteson, Annabell Wittmier and Kaitlyn Weis.
The freshman players look very good for their first two weeks. Many of them played under Coach Aaberg at the UMS program and built a good basic knowledge for the game at the high school level.
The freshmen include Alicia Fladstol, Morgan VanDyke, Alex Nesbo, Nicole Sasek, Cari Lytle, Kaylea Killion, Lacey Jones, Mariah Bitney, Amy Bailey, Skylar Shirley and Alyssa Hauer.