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Rackets ready; tennis players start their season

Hayley Koontz, 12

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A girl shifts her weight from one foot to another on the court, looking over the net expectantly. Her opponent calls the score, “love-15”, and serves. The tennis ball soars over the net and the girl springs to reach the ball as it bounces. She returns it, and the opponent’s swing at the ball sends it out-of-bounds. Love-30. The girls’ tennis season is underway.

The tennis team started summer practices with new leadership after the retirement of Coach Bill Hecker. Toni Gile, the new head tennis coach, is a Circle alumni who has years of experience on the tennis court. Gile was a State Runner-Up her senior year.

“Tennis was my social outlet as well as sports in general. I fell in love with tennis and we had a strong program and an excellent coach, ” Gile said.

There are three returning seniors on varsity this year, and one, Summer Scharenberg, was a state competitor last season. Seniors Janessa Waltemath and Halie Pearce have previously been doubles partners and are working together again this season.

“I hope to have some good meets and win some points and matches.  There are some really good people out there. You’re not always going to win, that’s how you grow and develop your tennis skills,” Pearce said.

There are several home meets this year for Varsity, JV, and Novice players. Students are invited to attend the matches free of charge.

“It’s going just dandy. All of the girls are really great, and our coach is also really great. It’s a really fun sport, and it’s really zen to play. You’re outside, and it’s totally calm,” Annabelle Adams, 9, said.

According to Pearce, the team has been focusing on team building.

“(Team chemistry) is awesome, we’re doing a whole lot of stuff together. The varsity, JV, and Novice have all combined, it’s really nice. My favorite thing about tennis is playing with my doubles partner, Janessa (Waltemath), she’s a lot of fun,” Pearce said.

Coach Gile has goals for her team this season, including seeing more girls play at the state tournament, having a winning season, and for her team to be in good “match” shape.

“The season thus far is going well. We are getting to know each other, and with 20 girls it is full of personality and fun,” Gile said.

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Rackets ready; tennis players start their season