The 2019 boys’ tennis season for the Lansing Lions fell just short of the team’s goal with no state qualifiers this year.
Lansing fell last week at De Soto in regionals. After weather delayed the start, singles players Collin Kenaga and Zach Crumpacker fell in their opening matches. The doubles teams saw similar results with both doubles teams dropping their opening matches to end the season.
Weather causing issues at the end of the season came full circle with the year starting out hindered by the weather as well.
Head coach Eddie Fenton said the weather at the start of the season forced early practices inside at Lansing Middle School.
“The crazy weather at the beginning of the season forced us to use the old gym from the 1980s,” Fenton said. “Brought back lots of memories of my own tennis practices in that building.”
The coach said the team’s best performance this season came at the Leavenworth tournament. The Lions took first. He said the best individual performance came from the doubles team of Robert Schafer and Jacob Lorenzen finishing third at the United Kansas Conference meet.
Lorenzen was also the team’s MVP, according to the coach.
“Jacob Lorenzen has been a solid varsity player for three years,” Fenton said.
For most improved, Fenton said both Crumpacker and Nate Hamman deserved the recognition.
“Zach Crumpacker and Nate Hammer are probably the most improved players since this was only the second year of tennis for both of them,” Fenton said. “They fit right in with the more experienced players on the team.”
Lansing will say goodbye to the senior class this year.
Fenton said the seniors always had a positive attitude all season and showed the others that tennis can be fun winning or losing.
With the graduating seniors leaving, Fenton said Hamman should be a standout player for the team next year.
“We need him to do the work he did last summer plus a little more,” Fenton said “I’m looking forward to him becoming a strong singles player for us at some point.”
If Fenton could have changed one thing about the year, he said it would have been the team putting in more work in the offseason.
“I’d like to see them out more in the offseason,” Fenton said. “We have always struggled with getting the boys’ team to commit to doing more work to prepare in the months leading up to the season. You can’t put the racquet away in May and pick it back up the next March and expect to have solid results if you haven’t put the work in.”
He said he spoke to retired hall of fame tennis coach Jim Mathis many times about the commitment to work in the summer.
“Coach Mathis always believed in needing the kids to put in at least 10 hours of tennis each week in the summer to really show improvement,” Fenton said. “There are 10 weeks this summer that we’ll have to work with the kids, which translates to 100 hours of tennis. The results in May don’t happen because of the work in March and April. Those results come from the work we put in June, July and August. If you don’t work your butt off in the summer you don’t deserve to beat those kids that do. One of the thing’s I’ve always liked about tennis is how it rewards you for the work you put in. There’s no one to sub in to give you a breather when you’re gassed. And no one else to blame when you are losing to the kid you beat last season but who’s handing it to you this year. You deserve to win in tennis if you put the work in and you also deserve to lose in tennis if you haven’t put the work in.”