By Alicia Dziak
Among the handful of spring sports offered at SGI is boys’ tennis, coached by SES teacher Frank Noeson, returning to the position for the 14th year. A total of 25 boys make up the team, who began practicing March 12.
This year’s team consists of four seniors, five juniors, six sophomores, one freshman, three eighth graders, two seventh graders and four managers ranging from grades 5-7.
With only seven of the 25 returning from last year, they bring a variety of experience and strengths to the team.
“First and foremost, probably one of our greatest strengths is the character of the athletes on this year’s team,” Noeson said. “We have a few upperclassmen returning who are great role models and leaders both on and off of the court. Michael Spagnola, Matt Sion and Wyatt Cudney are a few of the hardest working kids you’ll find.”
Noeson elaborated: “Michael Spagnola is the projected 1st singles player this year. He was selected as a First-Team Division 4 All-Star last year. We moved up into Division 3 this season, so it’s a bit more difficult to predict how he’ll do, but our expectations of Michael are high. Matt and Wyatt both were doubles players last season, and will be battling for singles positions or leading some of our starting doubles teams. We have three eighth graders returning from last season who all were in the starting line up at various points throughout last season. Connor Hughey, Grant Karb and Scott Russell all made tremendous improvements last season and are already demonstrating in practice that they’re ready to continue to be a part of our starting lineup. Sean Lux is also returning to the team this year and continues to improve and will be a doubles player this season.”
In addition, there are a couple players returning to the team after a year or two off who Noeson said have picked right back up where they left. “Maxx Solly and Jackson Richert both took a couple years off to try other sports,” he explained. “Maxx should contend for a singles position, while Jackson is currently on the heels of our starting doubles teams.”
The remainder of the boys are completely new to tennis. “We have a tremendous amount of athleticism this year,” Noeson stated. “A lot of them are picking up on the fundamentals at an incredible rate. Combine that with their natural athleticism and they have a lot of potential for upcoming years.”
Heading into the season, improvement throughout the season is the number one goal. “There’s a very wide range of ability levels on the team, so personal growth is the first for everyone,” said Noeson. “As a team, we’d obviously like to compete for a top division spot, but with moving to Division 3, we’re not sure what to expect.”
The slowly-melting snow has been a bit of an obstacle, but Noeson said, “We’re able to get some hitting reps in the gym, but obviously it’s not like being outdoors. Hopefully the weather breaks sooner than later!”
The boys’ first match is scheduled for Tuesday, April 10. Stay tuned to the Springville Times or visit springvillegi.org for the complete schedule.