Tennis succeeds and prepares for spring


Aubrey Cooper

Junior Annie Mitzel and Freshman Gillian Mitzel prepare for match at Sheridan High School.

  The Sheridan Bronc girls and boys tennis team has been working hard all season, and it seems to have paid off. Girls tennis placed first and boys tennis placed fourth with their overall scores and placed fifth at the state championship in Gillette, Wyo. This had been the first championship the girls had won in roughly 15 years. 

   The boys tennis team scored 21 points at the state tournament, placing them behind Powell with 54, Campbell County with 31.5, and Kelly Walsh and South tied for third with 23. 

   The girls tennis team was delighted to be able to bring home the championship trophy this season after placing first at state Sept. 26-28. “We won as a team,” said senior Stephanie Gonda. Gonda plays first doubles with her partner, junior Tori Pearce, whom she considers to be one of her closest friends. Overall in the 2019 season, the girls tennis team scored 45 points, tying with Central Cheyenne. “It’s a nice community of people,” said Gonda. “There’s so many of us who I would never be friends with, but because we play tennis together, we’re very good friends now.” The team makes it a point to have a very inclusive energy to their program, that way nobody, no matter if they are upper or lower classmen get left out. “You can’t tell who’s a freshman, and who’s a senior,” said coach Haley Valentine. 

   Although, the scoring process is said to be very difficult in this game as it relies heavily on the honor and integrity of the people judging the tournament. Both teams went through many struggles throughout the season, on occasion even going into three set long matches, but it was all for the battle to become better and the goal of placing at state. The most frequent rivals they faced where teams from Cheyenne Central, Kelly Walsh, and Cody. 

   Both teams also got more comfortable with experimenting with their strategies and placements for singles and doubles. Coaches constantly cycle the teams in order to see who worked well together and who did not. “Overall we were just going to focus on doing our best, just putting it all out there,” said junior Tori Pearce. “We wanted to have no regrets.” 

   The practices throughout the season were filled with repetitive drills and a constant focus on working hard for the goals set. The team practices every skill and fundamental, practicing form, ground strokes, and serves. They also had to work every inch of the court from net to baseline. There are still many things that need to be improved before the spring season in order to keep making gains as a team. “We need to work on overall gameplay and our technique,” said senior Ethan Kutz. “We have the form and the serves down and all that, but we still don’t know how to use all those elements to consistently win matches.” It is clear the tennis team keeps making strides as the year goes on. The team is going to continue to develop and invite more players in the upcoming spring season.