Rams tennis features new coach, inexperienced squad
The Roaring Fork High School girls tennis team looks to have some stability with new coach Jeff Smith, as well as some enthusiasm for the upcoming season.
“(We) have had a tough couple of years having new coaches,” said No. 1 doubles team member Lacey Delost in a media release. “But the RFHS tennis girls have toughed it out and we have stuck to our guns. This year you other teams better watch out, because we are stronger and we will rip you other teams up!”
While the enthusiasm is admirable, Smith’s main goal in his first year at the helm of the Rams squad is to give his players an appreciation for the game and allow them to have some fun.
“I’m not going to put a lot of pressure on the girls,” Smith said. “I just want them to learn and have some fun.”
Part of the focus on fun is due to the team’s inexperience. For many of the girls, it’s their first or second year of playing tennis.
Lindsey Cheney is the squad’s only senior and also the captain in the No. 1 singles spot. This is her fourth year as a varsity player, but the experience drops off dramatically after Cheney in the singles.
Sophomore Autumn Evans fills the No. 2 slot and freshman Sarah Armstrong is the No. 3 singles player.
On the doubles side, Delost is joined by junior classmate Stephanie Gustine on the No. 1 team.
Smith, who played professional tennis for seven years, expects to decide on the No. 2 doubles squad Monday, prior to the Rams’ season opener against Aspen on Tuesday in Carbondale. Smith has plenty of players to choose from – 24 girls are out for the team this year – but most are underclassmen or new to the sport.
“I’ve been telling the girls, `we’re going to sneak up on some people. Get your first serve in and get some points at the net,'” Smith said.
“We’re just going to play and have some fun,” he added. “Next year, if the girls have a good outing and seemed to enjoy it, I’m going to whip them into shape.”
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Ryan Hudson and his brigade of young archers have a big target in their sights.