New coach ‘optimistic’ on season
The new Blue Earth Area girls tennis team coach doesn’t want to use the words “rebuilding year” to describe his team, but admits it may be true.
“I have a really good group of kids who are fantastic to work with, and if they work hard they will get better this season,” Head Coach Terry Barnes says.
The Buc girls lost eight seniors to graduation last year. That team had an 11-7 dual meet record for the season and wound up seeded fourth in the section.
There are only two seniors on the team this year; Jackie Klinkner and Alicia Johnson. Klinkner plays No. 2 singles and Johnson is playing doubles. They are also the team captains.
Juniors Annika Johnson, Jessica Skaare, Samantha Hogstad, Olivia Skaare and Mackenzie Lein will be relied upon a lot to help the team, Barnes says. All of them have experience from last year.
Sophomore Emily Slama is filling the No. 1 singles spot again this year.
Alicia Johnson, Eli Johnson and Jordan Hanevik are also sophomores on the varsity squad playing on the doubles teams.
“We also have an eighth grader on the team, Abby Nimz who is our No. 4 singles player,” Coach Barnes says.
Besides the 10 varsity players there are another 12 girls out this year.
Although this is his first year as BEA’s girls tennis head coach, it is not the first time he has been a coach on the team.
“I was an assistant coach for Hal Schroeder many years ago,” he says.
Barnes also had some high praise for his two assistant coaches, Colby Swanson and Steve Rajewsky.
Swanson is the BEA boys tennis coach, and a former Waseca High School tennis star. He was an assistant girls tennis coach last year as well.
Rajewsky is a 2000 BEA High School grad and played tennis and ran track here and in college.
The two competed against each other while in high school, Rajewsky says. Now they are working hard together.
“They are doing a fantastic job helping us develop a program,” Barnes says.
He knows his girls team has some stiff competition coming up in the conference.
“St. James was runner-up in the State last year, and they have a very good portion of their line-up back,” he says.
St. Peter and Waseca will also be very tough, he adds.
The Bucs got off to a great start when they defeated Fairmont in their very first match of the year last week. It was a home triangular.
They have another home match this week when they host Martin County West on Thursday.
“We have a good mix of kids out and I think some of them can help us have a good season,” Barnes says.