Tennis team prepares for a successful season

Alex Mendoza

Early each morning, the tennis team practices in preparation for a tough season, running drills and short scrimmages with Coach Randy Ballenger overseeing their practice. Last season, the T-wolves performed well, missing Regionals but advancing several players to district matches. Seniors on last year’s roster have graduated and now this year’s players must step up. The goal is to push past district and qualify for Regionals as a team. Ballenger expects nothing less of his players.

“The team is really starting to bond together and support each other. I think they’re ready for the challenges this year,” Ballenger said. “I’ve seen pretty much the whole team improve over the summer.”

Cedar Park plays in a very tough district. Westwood’s team will be strong again this season and will be hard to take down. In addition to this challenge Cedar Park is also itching to beat Lake Travis and Vandegrift; both of which had very strong players last season.

“Some of their players used to play for me before moving over there, so they have some real talented players,” Ballenger said.

Despite complications such as student relocations and athlete replacements that came out of Vandegrift’s opening last year, the T-wolves aren’t intimidated. In the off-season many of the team members are busy with extra United States Tennis Association tournaments as well as personal training throughout the summer; extra practice is nothing new to them.

“Year-round, a lot of the kids play on their own, doing tournaments and taking lessons in the summer.” Ballenger said.

The looming question since last season has been the team’s new strategy in light of the graduation of last year’s leading seniors. Some experienced players are now gone and their places have to be filled.

“Getting [the team] experienced against tougher teams will get them ready for our district tournament and for Regionals as well. Our district won’t get any easier,” Ballenger said.

Although the whole team has worked hard to sharpen their skills, essential players such as Garrett Callen and Mathilde Moeller have stood out in particular, showing particular aptitude in mixed doubles matches so far this season.

Their district won’t show any mercy and the team knows that the pressure is definitely on if they hope to reach their goal of team placement in Regionals. The T-wolves have trained in the early stages of their season, growing close to one another, building team chemistry, and sharing one common goal. Though the road ahead of them is rocky and difficult, the Wolves are sure to make a strong showing this season.