Panther tennis getting back in the swing of it
Sam Green/Cortez Journal
The sound of a tennis ball colliding with racket strings echoed through the air. A chorus of voices rang out. “Good shot,” was heard as the ball rocketed down the line for a clean winner.
Yes, high school tennis is back in session and this season, the Montezuma-Cortez High School boys’ tennis team is primed for success. Featuring seven talented seniors, three quickly improving juniors and a number of developing underclassmen, this year’s team hoping to enjoy success on the court, develop off the court and have fun all the while.
“A goal for us is to win,” said fourth year head coach, Dan Wood. “Another goal is for players to find something out about themselves and see how good they can become. Most importantly, the boys need to enjoy their matches.”
Leading this year’s team will be senior, and newly anointed No. 1 singles player, Logan Dean. An athletic player who played No. 3 singles as a freshman and No. 2 singles as a sophomore and junior, Dean has high hopes for his season.
“I want to have fun because it’s my senior year,” said Dean. “Making it to state would be a huge victory for me. I had two chances last season and I didn’t get either of them.”
Taking over the No. 2 singles position will be last year’s No. 1 singles player, Graham Cathey. After disappointing results at the regional tournament the last two seasons, Cathey is hoping to add consistency to his game and finish his high school playing career with a bang.
“I would like to do better at regionals this season,” said Cathey. “Consistency is huge for me. Every year, the person who wins regionals is the most consistent and the person who goes to the net. I’ve been working hard to become more consistent.”
While the No. 3 singles position on the team has yet to be decided, the spot is likely to be filled by senior Si Eckhart, junior Samir Berrada or sophomore Cody Canoza.
At the No. 1 doubles position, seniors Ford Wegner and Todd Underwood are hoping that their complementary styles lead the group to success.
“(Underwood) is a big, strong young man who can really hit the ball hard,” said Wood. “(Wegner) is a good athlete with good skills. (The No. 1 doubles team) is going to be like the empires state building and a midget playing together.” While the remaining positions on the varsity team are still up for competition. Players likely to fill some of the spots include junior Xavier Eddy, senior Tyler Daniel and senior Wyatt Yates.
Hoping to get things off to a good start, the Panthers will open their season in Cortez on Aug. 31 against Hotchkiss. Highlighting this year’s schedule will be home matches against Durango (Sept. 24), Fruita Monument (Sept. 27) and Montrose (Sept. 28).
As always, community members are encouraged to support the team at home. All indications are that this year’s season will be an exciting one for all involved.