The Viroqua boys tennis team welcomes back seven returning players — Ben Gillen, Eric Jerdee, Dustin Kenyon, Henry Roels, Ethan Tubbin, Ben Kane and Garry Mishler.
“They all return with varsity experience and will fill the top positions of singles and doubles,” said Layne Hanson, who’s coached tennis for 23 years.
Key positions lost to 2020 graduation include Mitchell Hanson and Jared Anderson, 2019 sectional qualifiers at No. 1 doubles, and James Hopkins, No. 1 singles in 2019.
Hanson said he believes this is an athletic team and they are somewhat experienced, despite missing last season. “There will be several holes to fill, especially in singles, from our newcomers.”
Hanson said the ongoing pandemic hasn’t affected practices so far, and there haven’t been any disruptions. “They are happy to be playing,” he said. “Missing an entire season last year was very difficult for them.”
What does the longtime coach see as his team’s strengths this season? “We are athletic and have a strong competitive spirit. Those two attributes will make us a very competitive team.”
Where are the team’s weaknesses and biggest challenges? “We’ll be playing all our matches in May, which will make things very busy then, practice time will be limited,” Hanson said. “We’ll have to make lots of adjustments on the fly.”
Hanson said he’s encouraging his athletes to have fun and work hard.
Black River Falls will have a strong team, Hanson said, and is probably the favorite to win the conference title.
Nathan Tunks is assisting Hanson this season. The team’s record in 2019 was 9-8.
Angela Cina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.