By Stephen Henderson
The Patrick County High School Cougar men’s tennis team consists of eight players: one senior, three juniors and four sophomores. According to Cougar tennis coach Andrew Terry, four players are returning this season including first and second seeds Garrett Worley and Bennett Reeder. Jacob McNulty and Sandile Hill are returning as fifth and sixth seeds from last year.
“We have some experience coming back, and a few guys that have played for at least three years,” said Terry. We are looking for those guys to really produce wins and lead the team” he added.
“We have guys that really enjoy playing and want to improve their game,” Terry said. “Hopefully, we can mix in these new guys with our experience and be successful throughout the season.”
Terry has been impressed with the first days of practice. “We are getting the rust off for sure, but these guys have looked better than expected coming off long breaks having played other sports,” he said. “The new guys who haven’t played for the team have some experience playing in their spare time and have shown positive signs of improvement in the first week,” Terry explained. “It will take some time to get these guys into tennis shape, but they are ahead of where I saw us being this early in the year,” he said.
“Our goals for the season are always tiered. The first half of the season, we really focus on getting guys back into the swing of tennis, get reps in and getting our stroke back,” he stressed. “We then look to see that transition to success on the court. We have several experienced players back this year and should really be able to compete with the district teams,” he said.
“I am looking forward to a great season with these guys and looking to see how well we can develop and progress as we go throughout the year,” Terry said.
The Cougars’ first home match is Thursday (tomorrow) against Halifax starting at 4:30 p.m.
Lady Cougar tennis
Nine players make up this year’s Lady Cougar tennis team with six returning players from last year. The make-up includes three seniors, five juniors and one eighth grader.
According to Coach Sharon Smith, this year’s players have shown “super commitment.”
“I am looking forward to putting the experience to work for us,” she said.
“I am hoping to build on our experience and use that experience to recruit new players to the team,” she added. “We have great team camaraderie this season—we look forward to a great season,” Smith added.
The Lady Cougars have played Franklin County in a scrimmage (see related story) and will have their first home match Monday, March 20, at 4:30 p.m. against Christiansburg.