- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Doug Ford
With a nine-man roster and only three returnees, the Comets boys’ tennis team will definitely be in a rebuilding mode for the 2010 season. Ralph Tuck and Taylor Elliott, both seniors along with junior Tayler Tepper return to the Comets’ roster, which includes senior Jonathon Strader, junior Michael Jackson, freshmen Michael Good, Gannon Griffin, and Allen Scott and eighth-grader Roger Smith.
“It is an understatement to say that this could be described as a rebuilding year,” coach David Riddle noted.
“We lost six guys from last year’s team, all of whom played either in the top-six singles or top-three doubles, and whom had a combined 19 years of experience on the team among them.
“Everybody is playing up at least three spots or playing for the first time,” he added.
“Some are still getting adjusted to the game, so there is a definite learning curve that we are working to get past.”
Tuck, Tepper, Elliott, Strader, Good and Jackson currently hold down the numbers one through six singles seeds, according to Riddle.
“Ralph has come a long way over the past few years, because when he first came out he had barely picked up a racquet,” said Riddle.
“He has worked his way up, improved his game tremendously over the years and assumed a solid leadership role as well.”
Tepper gained experience in the top-six last year and knows what it takes, so if he continues to work on his game he could have a very good year, Riddle continued.
“This is Taylor Elliott’s third season. He’s had some experience in the to-three doubles but this his first time in the top of the singles ladder. He is another player who has improved and has also become a team leader.”
Four through six singles are currently held by first-year players, including Strader at the number four position.
“This is Jonathon’s first year with the team,” Riddle explained. He has previous tennis experience and he is working on his game, and we are expecting big things out of him this season.”
Michael Good got into tennis because of long-time Comets tennis number one seed and cousin Chris Moore, added Riddle.
Good is willing to learn and will only improve with time, as will Michael Jackson, another first-year player, who has been playing the game on his own and is working to get adjusted to high school tennis.
Current doubles seeds have Tuck and Elliott at number one, Tepper and Strader at number two and Good and Jackson at number three, added Riddle.
“Gannon Griffin and Adam Scott are two freshmen who have just started playing the game, and both are willing to learn,” said Riddle.
“We also have eighth-grader Roger Smith, who has been to tennis camp in the past during the summer, and we have not had a middle school player in a few years so we are pleased to have him out.”
Riddle and assistant Ned Covington, another Comets’ tennis alumnus, have been impressed thus far with the teams’ work ethic.
“We have to commend the effort we’ve seen out of the team so far,” Riddle pointed out.
“They’re all willing to learn and accept criticism, attitudes have been great and everyone is working hard in practice.
“Ned was on the original team that I coached back in the 2000 season and he’s worked well with the guys in helping them improve their games.”
Despite the team’s overall youth, Riddle is optimistic entering the season.
“I think we can definitely do some good things this season,” said Riddle.
“One positive is that most of the district is going to be rebuilding as well. Most teams will be in a situation similar to ours with someone moving up from the four spot or lower to the number one singles position.
“If we can keep our heads in it, work hard and learn from our mistakes, we can be a solid team by the end of the year.”