Austin Sharma will play a key role in the progress of the Mount Rainier boys tennis team.
Optimism fuels Ram tennis hopes
Optimism built on improvement characterizes the 2013 edition of the Mount Rainier High School boys tennis team.
Although the Rams lost James Postlewait to graduation and PJ Liu is not turning out due to the move of the Aviation School to another area, Mount Rainier has reason to expect better results than last season's South Puget Sound League North 1-9 fifth place record.
Juniors Kevin Nguyen (co-captain), Tyler Andrews, Austin Sharma (co-captain) and Daniel Russell saw varsity experience last season while sophomore Kepe Bonner is back as a top singles player. Newcomer Sam Verbon is a junior who is challenging Bonner for the No. 1 singles spot.
Ryan Rhodes, sophomore Anatish Vashist and junior Justin Fortner saw most of their action in junior varsity last season. Milan Crone and Danny Vujic are freshman that will make their mark this season.
Entering his 28th year of coaching boys and girls tennis at Mount Rainier, Tim Lee has specific reasons for increased enthusiasm as given on Wednesday, September 5th..
"Our squad is filled out this year," he observed. "We're 19 deep with varsity and junior varsity players. Last year, we had to drop the jv after about half the season. We have no seniors and we're in a two-year process of being more competitive this year and even more competitive the next year. Although we're we're a little young and inexperienced as far as varsity, we're going to be more competitive this season. It's positive about improvement in numbers and experience. Our current situation is that we're close to full strength. By Thursday (September 12th), we should have everyone eligible."
Players are also pumped up for the upcoming season.
"Last season, I missed getting to district by one match," Bonner said. "This year, we're going to be more competitive in singles with Sam. We're a lot more competitive."
Competing against the better players wil be a good challenge," added Verbon. "For me, I will try to get my serves in more often. We expect to be a to be at a better competitive level."
Honing his skills to higher levels, also, is Sharma.
"I'm confident and have improved my forehand shots and gotten better speed," he stated.
According to Lee, the top teams in the North will be Tahoma, Kentridge and Kentwood.
"I don't know if we can get to that level this year, but we're ready to try," concluded Lee.