Over the last couple of months we have been highlighting teams in Western Kansas as the American Implement Team of the Week on their lost seasons this spring due to the Coronavirus. On this weeks edition we go to Garden City, Kansas to catch up with their boys tennis team.
Coach Name & School: Rod Robinson Garden City High School Boys Tennis
Records Last Year: WAC Champions, 6A Garden City Regional Team Champions
Returning Starters: Nathan Morren, Sr.
What has this entire cancellation of season been like for you?
It’s been really hard for me. For our two seniors to not even get a chance to play a match in their final year is devastating. We have a bunch of freshmen and sophomores who were new to the team and are now missing out on opportunities to improve. On a personal note, I’ve been coaching here for a long time and I’m retiring this year. It’s really odd to think that I went on my last tennis trip, coached in my last tournament without even knowing it.
What were some key things you were really looking forward to in the 2020 season?
We were looking forward to working with the many younger players who were coming out for the first time. After a large (12 of our top 16 players) and successful senior class graduated last year, we were excited to merge a few returning players with young and upcoming talent. Three of the six guys who initially qualified for varsity this year were freshmen, so it’s really disappointing that they lose out on a year of development. Especially with our location summer tennis tournaments are hard to get to for most of our kids, so they really depend on high school tournaments for their match play experience.
Who are some of those key players we should have looked out for this year?
Nathan Morren would’ve led the team as our only returning varsity player. Nathan was coming off a junior season where he placed 2nd in doubles at the 6A regional and was a state qualifier. He had really worked on his singles game and was going to be a force in the area in singles. Another senior, Landon Taylor, had plenty of varsity experience his junior year despite not being in the top 6, and was going to be our #2 player and probably have a lot of success at #1 doubles. Freshman Logan Morren was also looking to make an immediate impact as a freshman at the #2 singles spot behind his brother along with two other freshman, Colin Kleysteuber and Gavin George.
What now ?
We celebrate our seniors and hope that some summer tennis can be salvaged. Our regional camps and summer tennis tournament have had a lot of success and participation in the past, so hopefully we can continue at least some of that this year to prepare us for the next season.
As a teacher what has this been like with school?
Hard. The kids are why I teach, and I haven’t gotten to see them at all, except over zoom once or twice. This is especially tough for me since it’s my last year teaching as well, definitely not the way I expected it to go.
Anything else to add?
Thanks for highlighting all of the great teams and student athletes in our area!
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