Athletic Jays open season in MinotNumbers, athleticism and physical maturity are all on the rise in the Jamestown High School boys tennis program. All three are reasons for optimism for coach Pat Mullowney’s team. “I’m cautiously optimistic,” Mullowney said.
By: By Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Numbers, athleticism and physical maturity are all on the rise in the Jamestown High School boys tennis program.
All three are reasons for optimism for coach Pat Mullowney’s team.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Mullowney said. “It’s a very athletic group, the most athletic team I’ve had top to bottom since I’ve been here.”
Translating that into tennis-specific skills in the always tough West Region is another thing, however.
“Finding that level of consistency match in and match out is something we have to continue to develop, but from the standpoint of physical maturity and athleticism we have some really good tools to work with and develop,” Mullowney said. “They’re picking things up really, really well. We’ve made really nice improvement just since we’ve started practice.”
With seniors Danny Fischer, Riley Schafer and Jim Tang graduated, junior Eric Watne, senior Declan O’Higgins and junior Braydon Love assume the top three singles positions. Jonny Satrom, another junior, also has a singles spot nailed down. All four are varsity veterans.
Junior Ashton Johnson and sophomore Nate Soulis round out the singles lineup heading into the opening weekend of the season in Minot. The Jays take on the Magicians today in a region match then play in the Minot Round Robin on Saturday.
Sophomore Nick Fuchs played varsity doubles last season and is nipping at the heels of the top six. Sophomore Ben Harris and seniors Cole Musland and exchange student Michele Simonetti also are in the mix.
“I think we have the potential to be a pretty deep team,” Mullowney said. “Those kids are hungry and are grinding away every day.”
Offseason work is nearly as important as in-season practices. Since taking over the tennis programs at JHS, Mullowney has stressed out-of-season work.
“As a coach, you always want more, but we did have some kids in summer tournaments and summer camps, which is nice,” Mullowney said. “More than anything there was a lot of physical maturity with some of the kids. They grew into themselves a little bit.”
Two-a-day practices before school started were labor intensive — a lot of work focusing on conditioning and cardio. Competition for spots on the varsity and JV also have been encouraging with 24 total kids out for the sport, which is up from about 18 last fall and further adds to the optimism.
“We’re not a finished product by any means, but with the type of athletic kids we have, there is room for upside and growth,” Mullowney said. “Our goal is to be peaking and playing our best tennis within six weeks.
“If we’re able to do that, I think we can be a team that can cause some problems.”
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com