SHS tennis kicks off with high expectations
Watch the Summit High tennis team practice, and you’ll see players sprinting to the net, slamming back high lobs, and squeaking shots just inside the line. You would never know that they had a winless season just two years ago. This spring, the Tigers are all business on the court, and all smiles off it.
“I’m very optimistic,” said head coach Rae Anderson. “I think it’s the strongest team we’ve had in years.”
Just two years after that dismal season — Anderson’s first as head coach — the Tigers have built a deep talent pool and have high hopes for the coming spring. The team lost No. 2 singles player Isa Pastor and a handful of skilled seniors, but Anderson has filled the vacancies with some strong new varsity players. The girls battled it out in challenge matches during the pre-season to determine positions.
“The competition in tryouts was a lot higher than it has been in the past few years that I played,” said last year’s number one singles player Julie Wallace. “I think that even though we’re moving up (into a new league) we should still be able to win.”
Sutton Anderson in an early standout, earning the No. 1 singles spot in just her first year with the team.
“Sutton is exceptional, and she’s a freshman, so that’s going to be very exciting,” said assistant coach Holly Meyers.
Wallace is returning and will play at the No. 2 position this season, while junior Stephanie Swanson falls in at No. 3.
The team looks just as strong in doubles, with sophomore Shannon Buhler and senior Lauren Cole at the No. 1 position.
“Lauren’s been on the team for four years and has a lot of experience,” Anderson said, “and Shannon has a lot of sporting ability.”
Seniors Linsday Holden and Diana Smithwick, doubles partners for the fourth year, will play together for one last season at No. 2. After playing well throughout the 2002 season at the No. 3 position, Holden and Smithwick lost in the first round of regionals to Holy Family.
“Last year we had some bad luck (at regionals)… we came close to winning. But this is our last year, and we want to go out with a bang,” Holden said.
That kind of determination is apparent in every member of the team this spring. The Tigers have been are working hard in the pre-season in anticipation of their new opponents in the Jeffco league, which Summit entered this year.
“Everyone has a really good attitude,” Meyers said. “Everyone loves playing.
These girls have been staying at practice for three hours a day. They’re totally into it.”
The Tigers kick off the season at Jefferson on Wednesday.
Jonelle Lonergan can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 230, or at email@example.com.
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