Filling the Void--Eureka Wildcat Tennis
April 13, 2014Eureka High School - Tennis
Eureka Wildcat tennis coach, Jason Conley, knows well that high school sports teams are often at the mercy of graduation. Last year's team performed very well, finishing in the top eight of state, but they lost four competitors to graduation. Did the Wildcats come prepared to fill that void? This reporter made a quick trip through the Wildcat's ranks and found some good news.
Austin Free spent last summer playing tennis with friends, and he continued through the fall to work on his serve. Jack Custer's older brother played on the varsity squad a few years ago, and Jack worked with his brother through the fall in an effort to sharpen his skills for this spring season. Landon Payne took private lessons from a relative who is a professional tennis coach. Tom Ferrara spent a lot of time playing at Sunset Tennis Center. Maneesh Tewani has been playing tennis every Saturday for the past month at the Chesterfield Athletic Club and has taken several private lessons. Alec Sheir has been playing tennis at the Chesterfield Athletic Club for the past month. Manish Chaganti played a lot of tennis last summer at the Missouri Athletic Club, participating in clinics and receiving private coaching from one of their teaching pros. Josh Landgraf has participated in clinics, taken personal lessons and competed in a couple of tournaments since last year. Ryan Atwood, who played last season just outside the top 6, spent a week at a California tenis camp last summer to develop his strokes. These are not all the stories of preparation, but they are a good start.
In addition, last year's #1 and #2 are back. Junior Collin Mayer climbed in the Missouri Valley's USTA rankings to end up as the 14th ranked player in the five state region in boys 16s. Since last season Mayer has played more than 15 tournaments throughout the region, and he took on a personal coach last November. Senior Matt Varner competed in many Missouri Valley tournaments in addition to putting in long hours of practice over the past year. Coach Conley hopes Varner can wrap up his fourth year of varsity tennis with his best season yet.
Good luck to Coach Conley, Coach Fanger, and the Eureka Wildcat tennis team in this "rebuilding" season.