Brutally cold. Those are the words Friday Harbor High School’s tennis coach Kevin Cullen used to describe practices for this season thus far. The team is also quite large, with 26 players, so for the second year in a row, practices are staggered to accommodate the many athletes.
“We do stagger our practices due to court space. The varsity players practice from 3:30-5 p.m. and the JV practice from 4:30-6 p.m.,” Cullen said. “We have everyone together from 4:30-5 p.m. to build the team dynamic by sharing in some fitness.”
None of the local schools the Wolverines face in competition in other sports have tennis teams. According to Cullen, there are a few 1B/2B league teams in central Washington — but that’s it.
“We joined a tough 1A league this year and though the competition will be challenging, it will be great to be part of a league and have those scheduled games,” Cullen said.
Cullen explained that he doesn’t know why there are so few schools with tennis teams. He said the players have a lot of fun out on the court and added that his team is a great one to be a part of.
“I really enjoy this year’s team,” Cullen said. “Having started four years ago, most of the seniors have been with me all four years. They are all fantastic people and it is so fun to be out there with them.”
Cullen added that there are a lot of returning players who are building their skills, and a great group of beginners who are already showing tremendous growth.
“It is exciting to watch how quickly they build confidence and skill,” Cullen said. “It helps that I have also coached the majority of the girls in soccer and/or basketball. They already know how I operate and what I expect and we are able to hit the ground running.”
The tennis team’s first match is at South Whidbey on Tuesday, March 26. Then, on April 6, the Wolverines play Granite Falls on its home court.