Striving for Success: The Cottonwood High School Boys Tennis TeamApr 07, 2016 03:16PM ● By Sarah Almond
By Sarah Almond | [email protected]
Murray - With spring-like weather moving into the Salt Lake Valley, the Cottonwood High School boys tennis team is ready to turn up the heat and buckle down for what it hopes to be a successful 2016 season. Under new leadership of head coach Andy Marks, the group is hoping to beat their 10-3 record from last season by going undefeated and making it to the state tournament May 19–20 at Liberty Park.
Marks is the group’s fourth coach in four years.
“We’ve had a new coach every year,” senior captain Gus Stevens said. “I think it’s just because not a lot of people know about tennis. It’s not one of the big sports like football or basketball.”
Despite inconsistencies in the coaching staff, many of the players agree that in some ways this has helped the team become who they are today.
“You kind of get used to not having the same coach,” senior Dylan Taylor said. “We kind of just do our own thing, and we have to rely on each other.”
With the exception of a couple of juniors, a majority of Cottonwood’s varsity team comprises seniors who have been teammates for at least three years.
“We only had two seniors that graduated last year and only one that graduated the year before that,” senior Jonah Robles said. “So I think now that we’re all playing varsity, the fact that we’ve been playing together so long will benefit us this season.”
Looking forward, the team is excited to play schools such as Taylorsville, which they lost to twice last season, and rival high school Brighton, a historically talented team.
“Everyone on Brighton’s team is really good, and they have good depth,” Stevens said. “We don’t really have any excellent players, but we have a really consistent team. And all of Brighton’s doubles players graduated last year, so I think we’ll have a pretty good chance at beating them this year.”
In order for Cottonwood to reign victorious over Brighton, a couple important things need to happen.
“Well, we really need to get in as many serves as possible,” Robles said. “And I think we also need to be mentally prepared.”
“I think we also need to have better sportsmanship,” Taylor said. “We can get really frustrated and angry. We broke like four racquets last year. So I think we need to work on sportsmanship on the court.”
The Colts’ players are dedicated to making this year successful both as a group and individually. They put in 10 to 15 hours of practice time per week and are working hard to improve their skills, especially for double matches.
“In tennis it’s hard to figure out one skill that everyone needs to work on,” Stevens said. “But overall, I think we need to work on communicating with each other on the court during doubles.”
Though winning as many games as possible and making it to state is the group’s ultimate goal, they all agree that what keeps them coming back to the court and practicing two to three hours each day, every day is their love for the sport.
“Tennis is something to do, and we have a really good time,” Robles said. “We probably have the most fun out of all the sports at Cottonwood. But mainly I think we all just really love to play. And we really, really love to win.”