By Christina Morrell
The boys’ tennis season has officially started, and it didn’t take long to notch a win over Dixon. This year’s program is greatly improved thanks to longer practices, dedicated coaches, new team captains, better conditions, and a positive attitude throughout the team.
The phrase “practice makes perfect” was probably on Head Coach Rick Mellinger’s mind when he decided to extend the practice time this year. The team is led by captains Eric Rico and Kolby White. These two have been on the tennis team all four years and are at the top of our varsity. They are quite the terrible twosome, and not just with their opponents. They lead the team in an extensive warm up and conditioning routine every day and always encourage the boys to do the exercises as a team. As our number one doubles team, Rico and White are entertaining, driven and unstoppable.
Over the two week break, the team took advantage of the beautiful weather by coming to the courts long before practice and staying hours afterward to get more tennis in. Their hard work is shown by the results of their first invitational and their first dual meet. In the Rock Island Invitational over break, UT placed seventh. In their first dual meet, UT beat Dixon 5-4 on Panther courts.
Because I spend every practice with these players, I can confidently say that they have a positive attitude. We have a lot of new faces this year but that’s old news for this closely knit group. The boys encourage and complement each other constantly. They are quick to lock on to a coach’s advice and desire to improve.
The Panthers next dual meet is on Wednesday, April 4, versus Geneseo at home.