The Wildcats boys tennis team will be hitting the courts shortly with their first competition of the season at Wellington two weeks from today.
The El Dorado boys bring back a valuable asset in experience for this season.
“We only lost one senior from last year and we have six returning lettermen so nothing should surprise us,” said El Dorado coach Kent Kunkel.
In the previous seasons under Kunkel, the mantra for the Wildcats has been to improve with every match.
“Two years ago, I just wanted us to be be competitive and get experience. Last year I wanted us to win more games. This year I want us to improve in match victories,” said Kunkel.
Helping to improve the Wildcats match victories are three juniors who have been in the program since they were freshmen.
Chase Barrett, Aaron Turner and Lee Harter have been with the program all three years and Kunkel will be counting on them for leadership on and off the court.
Second year player and senior Cole Reinhardt will bring not only experience but leadership as well.
Junior Logan Troxell and sophomore Joe LaForge were both first year players last year but played well enough to earn varsity spots for the Wildcats.
“I expect every returning player from last year to make improvements, work harder, and learn from last year’s experience. We had several players see a lot of JV action and I wouldn't be surprised to see some of them crack the varsity lineup sometime this season,” said Kunkel.
In years past, because of little depth on the Wildcats roster, some squad members had to be moved up to varsity before they were ready.
The three juniors mentioned above in Barrett, Turner and Harter were called upon as freshmen, but because of the Wildcats increase in players and the fact that several of them played during the summer, El Dorado will now have more competition for the six varsity spots this season.
“This will only make us better. A deeper team means an improved team for the future,” said Kunkel.
The Wildcats will open at Wellington later this month before their first competition at home on April 2 when they host rival Circle at the Waterworks.
“Every time we step on the court representing our team and school, no matter who we play, we'll give our best,” said Kunkel.