Tennis team ready for action
What a difference a year makes.
Last year, Buccaneer boys tennis team coach Konny Wolff had just 10 boys out and a team needs to have at least 10 to fill out all the positions (four singles, six doubles players).
This year, the Buc coach saw 18 boys out on the courts for the first day of practice and the chance one more might also come out for the team.
“This is really great,” coach Wolff says. “It is a really positive thing for the tennis team.”
Some of the new tennis players out have some experience, but the Buc mentor says quite a few are younger kids with not much tennis playing experience.
Three seniors will lead the squad Chandler Kienitz, Adam Buseman and Ben Frye.
Kienitz was the No. 1 singles player last year, and Wolff expects he will continue to hold that spot this season. Buseman was out for tennis for the first time last year, after several years being out for track, and showed improvement all last season. Frye was steady all year, as well.
A couple of juniors will also help out the team Fabien Riegelsberger and Dylan Herfindahl.
Herfindahl also came out for tennis for the first time last year, after having been in baseball before that. He showed excellent improvement as the season went along.
Riegelsberger is an exchange student at BEA and Wolff likes what she sees with him, after just three days of practice.
“Fabien hits the ball well,” she says. “I expect him to fill one of the singles positions, probably No. 3 or 4.”
Sophomores expected to help the team are Spencer Petersen and Spenser Timmerman. Both saw a lot of varsity playing time last year.
Ninth grader Parker Kienitz and eighth grader Jonathan Hill also gained a lot of varsity experience last season and will be much improved this year.
A newcomer to the team is eighth grader Jack Frundt, who played baseball last year.
“He has played a lot of tennis, just not on the team,” Wolff says. “He will be on our varsity squad this year.”
Just where, the coach is not sure of.
“Having nearly double the numbers out this year is great,” Wolff says. “But with only three practices so far, I don’t really know where everyone is going to fit in yet.”
There are a couple of spots to fill in from last year. Seniors Jaron King and Martin Granados Jr. both graduated and one sophomore player from last year decided not to come out this season.
Other students out for tennis this year include James Greer, Jacob Olson, Jack Barke, Gannon Haase, Tyler Long, Josiah Cyphers, Kegan Frandle-Fulmer and Marcos Gonzalez.
The team is going to be tested early. Their first match is coming up on Tuesday, April 12 when they will host Luverne on the Schroeder Courts in Blue Earth.
“Luverne went to the State Meet last year,” Wolff says. “And I think they maybe lost only one player from that team. It will be a good opener for us, to see what we can do.”
The Buccaneers will be changing sections this year, and will now compete in Section 1A.
“We will now be in with Winona Cotter and Rochester Lourdes and Fairmont,” the Buc coach says. “As well as St. James, St. Peter, Stewartville and a school named Schaffer Academy.”
Wolff points out that Rochester Lourdes was third in state last year, and St. Peter won the consolation trophy (fifth place), “so this is a really tough section.”
After facing Luverne in the opener, the Bucs will travel to Albert Lea on April 19 then return home to host Winona Cotter on April 22 and Waseca on April 25. The next day, April 26, they will be in Worthington to take on both Worthington and Pipestone.
It is a fast season, and by May 17 the Bucs will be involved in the Big South Conference Crossover and by May 23 Section Tournament competition begins.
Coach Wolff does not have an assistant coach, but with 18 or 19 boys out for tennis, she says she could use one this year.
“I called Rob (Norman, activities director) and told him I needed more uniforms and he asked why,” Wolff says with a chuckle. “I said it was because I have twice the numbers out this year and he was surprised.”