The Butte Central Maroon Tennis Team is scheduled to open their season Tuesday afternoon against Missoula Loyola, weather permitting.
The 2014 season brings a couple changes for the Butte Central Maroons tennis team and second-year head coach Bernie Carey.
First, he has a new assistant who has helped bring a full varsity roster to the Maroons’ girls team in several years in Lindsey Kambich, an English teacher at the school. Carey the increased numbers can be directly attributed to Kambich.
“Over the last three years at Central, Lindsey has built a strong report with her students and has been very supportive of all her students’ extracurricular endeavors. I doubt we’d have the enrollment without her,” Carey said. “We are all very happy to have Lindsey on board.”
For the first time in almost a decade, the BC girls will not only have a full team but will even have an extra player, as 11 girls will be representing the Maroons this season. Junior Kara Criscuolo and sophomores Sarah Drew, Kellsie Quinn, and Ali Guldseth have returned to the squad for their second seasons.
New to the team this year is senior Mederios Babb, junior Kaylee Simkins, sophomores Ryan Trudnowski, Megan McPherson, Kathi Matthies and Marybeth Lyons. Freshman Larysa Blavatsky will be rounding out the squad.
“I am thrilled that we finally have a full roster,” Carey said, “I know other teams will also enjoy playing full matches. These girls are a fun and enthusiastic bunch; as well as multi-season athletes who will learn the game quickly. Hopefully this is the beginning of a solid foundation for future Lady Maroon tennis programs.”
The boy’s team looks to build on several successful seasons of late, including last year when they just missed out on knocking off Corvallis for the divisional crown. The Maroons have gotten second at three straight divisional tournaments and plan to finally move into the Southwestern A pole position this season.
After losing seven seniors from last year’s team, Carey is confident that the 2014 boys’ team will be in contention once again.
“I would definitely not classify this year as a rebuilding year,” Carey said. “We are simply changing the guard. Because of last season’s exceptional varsity crew, our junior varsity guys were never able to step into the spotlight. But that did not deter them; they stuck with it and improved. Now they are ready to step into their varsity roles.”
The boys’ team will be led by a core of 4 experienced and driven seniors: Kale Guldseth, Patrick Kenney, Tyler Trudnowski, and Jesse Reinke. Guldseth qualified for state last year as a junior and looks to add another run to his already impressive high school resume.
There will be almost 20 boys competing for the final six varsity positions. In contention for those spots will be seniors Jimmy Martz, Yuhao He, Yulong Lin, Duane Gulick and Brant Ahlborn; juniors Frank Hendrickson, Seth Powers, Devin Maloughney and Bryce Noctor; and sophomores Sam Sterns and Sam Joyce.
Carey has no plans on getting use to a set lineup this spring.
“Anything is possible at this point,” he said. “I anticipate a constantly changing varsity lineup as these guys challenge each other throughout the year.”
Carey said the constant battles, challenging for varsity positions will be the key ingredient for the Central boy’s success.
“The one important lesson gained after last season is that inter squad competition is crucial,” Carey said. “We had a talented group last year; however, our guys never experienced high pressure situations like challenging for their varsity position. In the end, overconfidence and complacency became our demise.”
The demise Carey spoke about was leading his team to an undefeated season in match play but falling one point short against Corvallis at the divisional tournament when any one of several matches could have propelled the Maroons to the title.
“This year, our boys will have no choice but to acclimate themselves to high pressure situations as they battle for those varsity positions,” Carey said. “All that matters is that divisional tournament; and when the time comes, I am confident we will have a squad that understands pressure and can overcome it.”