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Boys tennis back under the guidance of Rutledge

May 3, 2019
By Allison Graham - Sports Editor (agraham@tamatoledonews.com) , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

In 2017-18 the STC Boys Tennis team took a hiatus but it was short lived. South Tama County Alumna, Ander Rutledge, had a vision to revive the program. Rutledge is a long-term sub for the district.

"I grew up playing tennis and love the game and couldn't believe there was no boys tennis," said Rutledge.

So she decided to approach South Tama Activities Director and Assistant Principal, Brent Bagnall about getting it started again. Rutledge was hired on as the boys tennis coach and she began recruiting at the beginning of the school year.

Article Photos

Wes Upah competes at a tennis match against Marion on Thursday, April 23.
News Herald Photo/Allison Graham

According to Rutledge there are currently nine boys out for the team. They have never played tennis before but they are a very talented and athletic group of boys.

"I love to watch their skills grow," said Rutledge. "The team has made so much improvement since we began. Some of them have a few wins under their belts and some are getting really close to getting that first win. I feel extra proud of them when other coaches tell me they would have never known that this is their first year playing tennis. Best of all, the boys are already talking about next year and making goals for themselves."

This season the Trojans are focusing on learning the game and the skills of a sport that can be lifelong. The boys are 0-5, and came very close to a win when playing Saydel. They finished that contest 4-5.

"Even though we haven't won a match, the boys play very competitively with the other teams," said Rutledge.

Wes Upah has two varsity wins, winning 10-6 against Saydel and 10-7 against Marion. Abdul Musalif Mohamad Bokhori also has a varsity win against Saydel, 10-5. Kalem Schrock has a varsity win against, Saydel 10-4.

Lincoln Kingbird and Aaron Neave are Varsity doubles winners with a 10-6 victory against Saydel.

At the JV level, Lincoln Kingbird has 4 wins, and both Andres Lugo and Dayton Filloon had wins at South Hardin, each 10-0.

"I see a lot of great things happening for the future of South Tama boys tennis," said Rutledge.

One concern for the program has been the condition of the tennis courts. Due to the location of the courts water runoff is a problem but the teams are making do. It would cost an estimated $600,000 to replace the six courts.

"It's fantastic to have the program back," said AD Brent Bagnall, "We hate it when we lose any sport due to lack of participation numbers. We're not where we want to be but we have nine or ten kids this year and that's a good place to start the program. Hopefully we will get it to where the girls program is."

The girls tennis team has roughly 35 girls participating. "Will we get that many? Who knows but I would sure like to see a program where we could get 20-30 boys out for tennis. I think it's a good alternative. It's a lifelong sport. From that perspective it's nice to see that it's back and an option for some kids," said Bagnall.

 
 

 

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