There’s a youth movement taking place on the HRV tennis teams.
Like the cross-country, soccer, swimming, wrestling and skiing programs before them, the strength of these Eagles teams is their depth.
“We’re going to be really good,” girls coach Barb Hosford said of her team, which finished fifth in the Mt. Hood Conference last year. “The team is young but full of fundamentally sound, technique-oriented players who are willing to learn.”
Three of the top four singles players on both the boys and girls teams are underclassmen, with only Dirk Britton and Kerry Hart representing the senior class.
Hart will play No. 1 singles for the girls along with junior Jodie Gates, while sophomore Gena Folts and freshman Emily Sager handle the Nos. 3 and 4 spots on the ladder.
On the boys’ side, last year’s No. 1, Britton, will play No. 1 or 2 singles along with freshman Alec Asbridge. Freshmen Brogan Houtz and Joseph Yang and sophomore Sean Ritter will battle it out for the Nos. 3 and 4 spots.
“I really like our depth this year,” said boys coach Shayla Moline. “A lot of our players are at the same skill level and will be pushing each other all year. I’m excited to see what they can do.”
Moline explained that, while young, many of her players have ample court experience from playing at the Hood River Sports Club under the guidance of Kevin Beeson and Clark Emmerson.
The Sports Club has been the teams’ home-away-from-home court since the sun disappeared two weeks ago, and Moline believes that has given her team an advantage.
Hosford agreed and said one of the reasons her team is so well-rounded is that her players have been able to use the facility and benefit from year-round professional instruction.
Two such players, sophomores Ashley Nunamaker and Lauren Emmerson, enter the season as the girls No. 1 doubles team. Also serving it up with the doubles elite will be sophomore Corinne Oates and juniors Brittany Reed and Elie Meierbachtol.
Nancy Meza, Mindy Henderson, Jessica Young and Lindsay Brown will also lend their racquets to the doubles’ cause.
Leading the way for the boys twosomes will be senior Aarron Phillips and junior Joseph Broschart. They will be closely followed by the sophomore tandem of Erin Herman and Cam Emmerson.
“We’ll be mixing it up from meet to meet,” Moline said. “The idea is to keep everyone on the team involved. Everyone will have a chance to play both doubles and singles at some point.”
Both coaches feel their teams have improved since last year and believe they can hang with defending district champ Parkrose, Barlow and Gresham. Central Catholic will also be a power on the girls side.
“I think we’re going to have much better results than last year,” Moline said. “This year’s matches won’t be as lopsided because we didn’t lose any of our top players while some of the other teams did.”
In preseason action, the boys were leading The Dalles 4-0 Thursday when the rains came, while the girls won 6-2 at The Dalles.