Tennis teams swinging into action

North Kitsap tennis players (L-R) Rex Olson, Zach Fohn and Jordan Seth bring veteran experience to the Viking team this season. - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
North Kitsap tennis players (L-R) Rex Olson, Zach Fohn and Jordan Seth bring veteran experience to the Viking team this season.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

The boys’ tennis teams at North Kitsap and Kingston high schools begin play next week. And while one squad is up and coming, the other is after a little redemption.

The Kingston program, in its third year of existence, is still growing and hoping to develop players for the long term.

“I’m looking at this as a rebuilding year,” said Kingston Head Coach Ken Crawford. “We’ve got a lot of potential here.”

At North, the tennis squad is expecting plenty of accolades right now, in the 2009 season.

“We were fairly successful last year, so I’d anticipate us being successful again,” said NK Head Coach Jay DeVries.

Experience is the biggest factor in the two teams’ differing outlooks. Two years ago, Kingston only turned out eight players and had to forfeit several matches as a result. Last year, the team grew to 16, and this season 28 students have come out to play. But only four players on this year’s squad are seniors, and many have a dearth of experience on the court. That’s why Crawford feels the 2009 season is one in which he can mold a talented crop of players for 2010.

“I told them, ‘One of the things I want to do this season is get you in the best shape of your life,” Crawford said.

The team plays their first match Sept. 11, and has yet to solidify their lineup. Players are competing to see who will take the lead on game day.

“It is pretty open now,” Crawford said of the lineup. “We’re working on a ladder right now, playing matches to try and determine who’s going to be our top players.”

For the Vikings, it’s all about what the team can do now, thanks to the experience they already have. Ten of last year’s 11 starters returned to play on this season’s varsity squad.

“I think we’re going to give most teams a run for their money, just because most of the kids played varsity and all but one are back again,” DeVries said. “So they have the experience of playing at that level, so there’s not going to be very many surprises.”

Sophomore Zach Fohn, who missed a state berth by one match last season, will lead the team this year as the Vikings’ No. 1 singles player.

“He’s definitely got talent,” DeVries said of Fohn. “But he works very hard for it. So it’s not undeserved talent by any stretch.”

Filling the No. 2 spot will be senior Rex Olson, and leading the doubles is Jordan Seth, a senior who took second place at districts last season.

DeVries said his players will need to be more consistent and able to endure long matches if they indeed plan to win. If the team can achieve that goal, their coach believes they can compete with the league’s top teams and avenge some of last year’s losses.

“Port Angeles went undefeated last year, and I’d like to beat the hell out of them,” DeVries said.

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