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Season looks bright for varsity tennis

1:00 AM, Aug. 18, 2013 EDT

Grand Ledge High School boys tennis players Jackson Vanderlaan (foreground) and Iyodeli Greenidge (background). / Courtesy photo

GRAND LEDGE — 

The Grand Ledge High School Boys tennis team is poised for another exciting school season. Lead by six-year head coach Mark Barrett, the 16 member team expects to land a solid placement in their conference.

"I'm excited about the upcoming season," Barrett said. "We have a lot of last year's players returning, as well as a great lineup of incoming freshman."

Barrett added, while prior experience is always welcome, many incoming players join after having only participated in tennis on an informal recreational level.

"We've had several boys who've only played with their families before joining the team, and after a few weeks of practice, they're winning games."

Stephanie Holly, mother of incoming freshman Spencer Holly likes the "life-sport" aspect of tennis.

"We're thrilled that Spencer is joining the team this year. We know it's something he'll be able to continue to play long after graduating from high school."

Spencer, 14, said that the schedule for matches and practice also allows him to participate in other extracurricular activities.

While once the sport of kings and princes, having a son on the tennis team doesn't have to empty your wallet. The only required equipment is an adult-sized racquet and pair of sneakers. Barrett said the cost of this year's uniform is expected to be approximately $40.

An active parent booster group supports the team by raising money to pay the wages of an assistant coach and by supplying food during matches.

Heather Vanderlaan, mother of returning sophomore team member Jackson Vanderlaan, heads up the booster effort for the boys team.

"Look for a boys tennis team float at the Homecoming parade this year," she said. "It'll be easy to spot us, we'll be the ones tossing tennis balls into the crowd."

While not expensive to participate, Barrett does expect each player to make a mental and physical investment while on the team.

"I ask every boy to give their complete focus during every practice and match; and to demonstrate outstanding sportsmanship and respect for fellow players and coaches," he said.

Additionally, Barrett requires a minimal scholastic GPA to retain active team member status.

The team's season opener is scheduled for Aug. 21, away, at Haslett High School. Their first home match is set for Thursday, Aug. 22 beginning at 4 p.m. at the high stennis courts. Spectators are welcome.

Submitted by Mary Fox

 

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