Captains' practice kickstarts with new faces on Worthington boys tennis team
The Worthington Trojans boys tennis team will feature lots of new faces as the team graduated eight of its 10 varsity starters from last season.
WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Trojans boys tennis team will feature lots of new faces at the top of the ladder, as the Trojans’ team graduated eight of its 10 varsity starters from last season.
In the past, the WHS tennis team has not met for captains’ practices, but the two varsity returners in senior Ezra Bonnett and junior Ian Barber wanted to change that this year.
“We were fortunate enough to talk to (Josh) Dale and get access to the (Prairie Elementary) gyms,” said Barber. “For us it has been good to get hits because it is going to be a rebuilding year. … It is something that we have never done, so it is very nice to have for the new guys and the guys that were here last year that didn’t play varsity.”
On Monday, Bonnett and Barber met with the team for the first ‘unofficial’ captain’s team practice in the Prairie Elementary gymnasium. The Worthington tennis team warmed up with a pickup game of basketball.
Then they played a game of floor hockey, as the players worked on their quick changes of direction and hand-eye coordination. The team that passed well took the early advantage, Michael Bustamante-Miranda, Evan Hansberger and Lance Gordon had an instant connection, putting in several goals.
“When we are going to get into actual tennis there is going to be a lot of running and a lot of hard practice,” said Barber. “So it is kind of nice to have something start us out and get us bonded as a team before practice actually starts.”
On Friday the team had its first hitting session at practice. Players scattered around the gym, with a makeshift net of yellow tape on orange cones separating the gym into two halves. Players tried to split with a partner of equal experience. The team practice was filled with laughs and advice and lightheartedness as the team began the process of shaking off the winter’s rust.
The tennis team has new faces to replace the large graduating class from last year. Senior Bustamante-Miranda is in his first year of tennis and said he was recruited by friends on the team.
“I think it is a really good way to get to know your teammates outside of the sport,” said Bustamante-Miranda on the peer lead practice. “I also think it is a good way for new people like me to get used to hitting the ball, and get to know the sport.”
Another new player is sophomore Diego Ramos-Loza. Ramos-Loza said he was recruited persistently by Bonnett while at work.
“I know these guys but I don’t get to talk to them often,” said Ramos-Loza. “I would say that I am a visual learner so to watch guys that really know what they are doing helps me emulate what they are doing.”
The team starts official practices next Monday, but Barber and Bonnett said the inaugural captains' practices were a big help and successful.
“It is fun to have a team,” said Bonnett. “We were playing games together, conditioning together.”