Hungry Rams looking for more in boys tennis
Apr 15, 2019 03:30PM
● By City Journals Staff
Highland High School’s Jaden Greenburg, just a freshman, is slated to start first singles for the Rams’ boys tennis team this season. (Photo by Elisa Pardo)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
As the spring sports season begins, many coaches around the state are scrambling to find replacements for key players and competitors and to find a way to rebuild their teams.
The Highland High School boys tennis team doesn’t have that challenge.
Head coach Jeanine Elsholz is in the enviable position of welcoming back the bulk of her squad. In fact, six of her seven varsity players are back in action this season after helping last year’s team compete favorably in Region 6.
“I expect that we will continue to build on the success we had last season,” Elsholz said. “Our goal is definitely to be in the race with the top teams in our region and qualify our entire team for the state tournament.”
Last year, the second doubles tandem of Jake Bauman and Cole Smith got to state and lost in the first round of the tournament. Both are back for their junior seasons, joining some talented, experienced players for Highland. Another junior, Isaac Brickey, along with seniors Will Olsen and Abram Toronto, will start on the varsity squad. Senior Will Dale is another player who should see time on the court with the varsity team.
Elsholz is excited that so many of her players have big matches under their belts. She believes this will only benefit the team as a whole this year. She’s also counting on motivation to be a key factor, as the Rams fell short at the region tournament last season.
“[The players] bring experience,” she said. “They are also fierce competitors. They love to win and dig deep to make it happen. They give their all and do not quit on points. I think these players learned a lot last season, especially at the region tournament when we did not finish as strong as we had hoped. I think the lessons learned last year will definitely help us this year.”
Elsholz may have a secret weapon in a very young player. Freshman Jaden Greenburg may start at first singles. The talented ninth-grader has turned heads at practice.
Highland began the season in the middle of March and have a full slate of matches all the way up until the postseason. The state tournament will be May 16 and 18 at Liberty Park.
“I am really excited to watch these boys play,” Elsholz said. “Win or lose, I think there will be some great matches to watch. I always expect their best effort during matches, and I am really hoping they will give their all this year. Our players are very excited for this year. These players have worked hard the past two years to help turn the Highland program around, and I really want them to have this season and enjoy every match they play. Their attitudes have been very positive.”
Region 6 won’t be an easy one for the Rams. The team will also face some talented squads from around the state, but Elsholz believes this will only make her team better and more competitive.
Elsholz doesn’t worry about wins and losses as much as she focuses on the mental aspect of the game and how much dedication the players show.
“This season will be a success if our players give their very best effort in every match,” she said. “Whether in practice or in matches, for me, it all comes down to their attitude, the level of effort they are willing to give and their sportsmanship on the court. These are by far the most important things to me as a coach.”