New and experienced athletes are flooding the Jamestown tennis courts to start the Blue Jays' 2019 boys season. JHS coach Bryan Edens is looking forward to what the mix of talent and experience could mean for Jamestown's nine-week season.
"I am excited about these newer guys coming up, and this year we only have one senior," Edens said. "So this year and next year we're going to be pretty competitive."
Edens said the Jays' roster has six potential players with varsity experience. JHS lost 2018 captain Ryder Lunzman to graduation, but senior returner Isaac Mimong will be assuming the No. 1 and team captain spot.
Last year's No. 2 Ryder Pringle, No. 4 Kaden Schmidt and No. 5 Gage Orr will also bring experience to the court. Edens said the Jays' program is expecting an influx of new talent and is grateful he has varsity experience that can maintain a strong and competitive mental game.
The new season begins this Friday, Aug. 23, with 3-2 matches at the Minot Jamboree.
"Last year we talked a lot about just being mentally strong," Edens said. "Like if points don't go your way, you hit a bad shot -- or something -- just keep a positive mindset.
"Showing grit through adversity is kind of a big thing with tennis. Balls don't always fall where you want them ... so just having grit and integrity and playing through the challenges."
The Blue Jays competed to a 6-9 dual record in 2018, finishing fifth in the West Region at 2-4, and lost some tough matches at the No. 1 and 2 slot. Jamestown missed the chance to compete as a team at the state tournament, but Edens said he is hopeful his team can take another shot this season.
Edens said he'd like to see his team claim a high seed at the regional tournament and punch a team ticket to state on October 10-12 in Grand Forks.
Edens said the team has the experience to make an appearance at the state tournament but the second-year coach acknowledged there are elements the Jays will need to work on before mid-October. For instance, working on doubles play to win the scheduled duals.
"(We need) just some more strategy and some more technique and finding more good doubles partners to help get us wins in matches," Edens said.
They have the experience and now, Edens said he is hoping time on the court will translate to a spot on the podium.
"I am looking forward to the season," Edens said. "Hopefully we play well together during the season and are just able to battle at regionals and get to state."