Serving for a bigger season

Tennis increases team size, coach welcomes new players


Photo by: Isaiah Yamamura

Sophomore Dakota Caudle returns a serve during his singles match against Chanute. "I think it's great that tennis is getting more publicity at PHS," Caudle said. "I'm really happy with it but I'm always looking to improve in all ways."

Story by Maddy Robison, Online Editor

Standing on the court, racquet in hand, senior James Richey waits for his teammates to join him for practice. The boys tennis team has 34 players this year, which is increased from the 22 members in the 2017 season.

“It’s a big program this year but I’m glad to have all of them,” head coach John Seal said. “We have nine freshmen, they wanted to try it out, but they’re already making a positive impact in the program.”

Last year Christy Watt, middle school physical education teacher, began an after-school tennis program for students.

“I started playing tennis because of my dad, I’ve been playing since I was 10. It’s a fairly easy sport and a good workout, anyone can play it,” freshman Evan Harries said. “Having the program in middle school helped give [me] the basic skills that we can now apply in competition.”

Richey recognizes tennis as a source of experiences and an outlet from everyday excitement.

“Tennis has certainly given me a new group of friends. I played baseball for eight years prior to tennis with no experience in it, so trying out definitely eliminated that fear of trying something new,” Richey said. “Tennis is the most personalized sport, all of know each other and we all get along. Seal is a fun coach and we don’t ever bring drama on the court with us.”

Seal believes that the middle school program has impacted the abilities and amount of high school players.

“I think having the middle school program influenced the numbers here. We are going to be good this year,” Seal said. “We have a lot of good experience but we also have talent in our new players. We’re not worried about winning so much, I just want them to get out and see competition and get better.”

The team has goals for this season despite the young players.

“A main goal in tennis is we want everyone to play and go to tournaments, and truthfully everyone is good enough to play,” Richey said. “The biggest impact that the increase in players has brought is trying to get people in tournaments.”

Seal has high expectations for the future of the program.

“Taking multiple entries to state is always a goal. We placed in the top 15 last year, and it’s a goal to finish higher this year on the state level,” Seal said. “This season is going to be good, tennis benefits the kids, it’s a life teaching and lifelong sport.