There are 32 members on the Jonathan Alder tennis team which makes team practices pretty darn crowded, but what it also does is create a competitive environment where the best players have to earn their spots.
Alder coach Ryan Swinehart likes what he sees on a daily basis and is encouraged by the effort in which he’s seen from his team. The squad is off to a slow start with a 4-1 loss to Hilliard Darby and a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Granville in the opening week of the season, but the optimism remains high.
“While we are 0-2, I have high hopes for the team this spring,” Swinehart said.
The coach is turning to a collection of veterans who have been in the program for a number of years to help lead the way this season.
“We have a good group of seniors that include Nick Beachy, Clay Troyer, Dermot Hutchinson, and Stephen Kellett,” he said. “They have come a long way over the past four years, it has been great to see them grow as tennis players and people.”
With so many members on the team, the coach has gone with a competitive way in determining who plays on the coveted varsity courts.
“We determine our roster with a double-elimination tournament,” he said. “With 32 kids in the program this year it turned out to be quite competitive.”
The results landed Logan Woods on the first singles court, and Beachy and Troyer on the second and third singles courts. Meanwhile Sam Recker and Hutchinson are playing first doubles and David Salzler and Anthony Dresvyannikov are at second doubles.
Fighting for spots and looking to contribute in varsity matches are Lucas McClaskie, Timmis Leffew and Stephen Kellett.
Jonathan Alder joined the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference (MOAC) in most sports, but tennis however is not one of those sports, which means the Pioneers will continue to compete as an independent.
The MOAC does not include tennis this season, currently there are not six MOAC teams offering tennis, which is the threshold,” Swinehart said. “Next year tennis should begin in the MOAC as Marion Harding and Galion join the conference.”
The Alder coach said his team has goals and aspirations which start with enjoying themselves on a daily basis.
“We have expectations for this team to have a winning record for the season,” he said. “We have a large team with 32 kids involved. Everyday we want to get better, be competitive within our team structure and have fun while doing it.”
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 18 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.