Boys Varsity Tennis team jumps into the swing of things as season begins

Spring: the sound of tennis balls being thwacked against a racket daily after school is one of the first signs of spring around WLHS. As the boys tennis team begins its first few practices together, players are finally able to show the skills they have worked on so hard on the off-season. Whether it be as a team or individually, each player has worked to make not only themselves better, but to contribute to the rest of the team.

“Independently, I worked really hard over the summer and practiced quite a lot,” Conner Houlette, senior and last year’s team captain, said. “As a team, we’ve been working recently on a lot of things and have actually been able to work earlier than some other schools.”

Players are anticipating the payoff for offseason work and the placement of the varsity team. Despite the nerves, a sense of optimism has come with the new faces.

“The new guys coming in are pretty decent and will be able to contribute to a lot of wins.” Justus Gulbrandson, senior, said.

Unlike other sports at WLHS, the tennis team is small in terms of the amount of people on the team, but if anything it makes the bond between the guys even stronger.

“Over the season I really see us becoming close relationship wise. It’s kind of like joining a small family,” John Rowan, senior, said.

As seniors, this season will be the last they play together and the views on the team and season have definitely changed as their high school careers draw to a close.

“I definitely look forward to mentoring the up and coming young guys such as Matt Perkins [sophomore] and Justus Lawrence [freshman],” Houlette said. Mentoring requires patience and of advice to the new varsity players; advice may correct physical stance or a positive mental state when things don’t go right.

“My advice to them is to not get frustrated,” Gulbrandson said. “The serves will come eventually.”

Once the schedule for the season was revealed, the match that was instantly circled was the one against arch rival, Lakeridge Pacers. West Linn and Lakeridge have hotly contested for the top spot in the Three Rivers League for the past few seasons. Another match, or series of matches, that come to mind for the team will be in April when they travel down to Medford.

“That’s one I’m really looking forward to because it will be a good experience for all of us,” Houlette said.

The Lions’ first match will be on Apr. 1 when the take on the Pacers at 4 p.m. at West Linn.