It was a tough season a year ago for the Lansing High tennis team as they failed to get anyone past regional play and into the Class 5A state finals.
Edward Fenton, with a record of 73-44 with the Lions, will try to switch that narrative around with only one returning varsity player, Jacob Lorenzen.
“We’re going to look to Jake to give us leadership during our practices and to be our best competitor once the matches get under way,” Fenton said. “This is his third year in the program so it’s time for him to become our team leader.
“We lost seven or our eight varsity players from last season, all of them contributed to the program so it’s really hard to single any one particular loss.”
Fenton is working with a new mold of clay and so far it appears the process has been a fun one for the team as they embrace the chance to step up.
“This year’s squad seems to enjoy the process of learning the game of tennis,” Fenton said. “They may not be able to do everything I’m asking of them just yet, but they seem to like coming to practice.
“We are a very young squad in terms of age and experience. Our tennis IQ as a team is very low right now. We’ll be growing each and every practice, our baseline knowledge is really low at this point.”
The objective will remain the same even if the roster is completely different in 2018.
“We always have the goal of qualifying a singles player and a doubles team for state competition,” Fenton said.
If the momentum for LVHS tennis can continue it will have to resume with the Pioneer boys.
Head coach Shad Langfoss saw his girls’ team explode last season to a strong campaign of performances, a nice representation at the state tournament and clear progression for the program.
Now it’s the boys’ turn after last year’s 4-5 dual record and 11th place finish in the Sunflower League, while no one made it through to state.
Senior Andrew Richter and junior Isaiah Casmus are back and look to spearhead the squad along with junior Sean Hammell.
“(Richter and Casmus) will probably be the No. 1 doubles team as it looks now and hopefully be able to have a productive and successful season,” Langfoss said. “Sean is also returning and playing well so far these first two weeks. Santi Barea wasn't able to play last year but I hope he will be a great addition to the team.”
The team will try to recover from the graduation of their leader Charles Peterson, but the team captains are expected to step up.
“Our biggest strength is our numbers,” Langfoss said. “I have 32 players out which will make us very competitive within ourselves which I hope will transfer when we go up against other schools. I have about 12 guys that will be equal when it comes down to playing so I will have to see who will rise to the top and want to play more.
“Our numbers could also be a weakness. It will be difficult for myself and my assistant to really give too much one on one guidance, but we will make it work.”
Like Lansing, they hope to get someone to state and be a competitive outfit.
“Of course, a goal for each season would be to have a winning season and have someone go to postseason play at state,” Langfoss said. “It has been a few years since a boy has gone so maybe this is going to be the year.”