The tennis season begins with brand new and improved courts for the boys’ team. Kyle Loring became head coach for the boy’s tennis in 2018. After Dick Barnes retired as coach, there was a pause in the program In 2018, however, there was resumed interest in building a boys’ tennis backup.
“We picked up steam with 14 guys in 2019, then had our 2020 season (in spring 2021) cut short with the school’s covid precautions and didn’t have quite enough interest in fall 2021. Now we’re back,” Loring said. Currently, the small but mighty team consists of seven players, but the doors are not fully closed if someone had an interest.
Loring started playing with a friend in 8th grade. “We both loved getting out on the court and just swinging away until we could keep the ball going back and forth a couple more shots each time,” said Loring, adding that his game picked up when he began playing on the high school team at Steilacoom.
This season Loring’s primary goal is to improve shots, strategy and tennis knowledge with every practice. After that, “enjoying the game, conducting conduct ourselves with integrity, and get one more ball back over the net than our opponents,” Loring said.
The biggest hurdle the team will need to overcome is a general lack of tennis experience. Loring pointed out that the positive side of that is that the boys can develop good habits rights from the start.
“Another significant challenge is that none of the schools in our league have tennis teams, including our historic rival, Coupeville,” Loring said. The lack of opposing teams in the league has been a challenge for other sports as well.
While the team works hard to still get into the swing of tennis, Cody Balcomb-Bartok, the lone senior of the group, is ahead of the game. Balcomb-Bartok joined back in 2019 and persevered through challenges created by the pandemic and low turnout. “He always brings his positive energy and attitude and his game is starting to come together with his serve turning into a weapon!” Loring said. “We’ve got a lot of enthusiasm out on those beautiful new courts, and are very excited to be rebuilding the program.”