BC veterans, newcomers set to open tennis season

BC veterans, newcomers set to open tennis season

By Bill Foley

With a mix of veterans and newcomers, Butte Central’s tennis teams are set to open the 2022 season.

BC will play its first matches Thursday with Livingston, Dillon and Hardin in Livingston. Action for the meet, which was moved from Tuesday because of the weather, is set to begin at 9 a.m. (Schedule)

“I have a good veteran group on both sides,” said BC coach Becky Hancock, who is entering her eighth year as the leader of the Maroons.

The newcomers are on the boys’ side, where the Maroons grew from four players last year to 11 this year.

That includes senior Gage Guldseth, who played as a freshman. He did not play last year, and the 2020 season was called off because of COVID-19.

“He did well when he came out his freshman year, and he’s doing well this year,” Hancock said of the 6-foot-4 Guldseth.

Guldseth will team with his cousin, fellow senior Drew Badovinac. Badovinac made a postseason run that ended just short of the Class A State tournament last year with Nick Lester, who is now a junior.

Lester will instead play with senior Eric Hart, a shortstop for the Butte Miners who joined the team in the middle of last season.

“I think those doubles duos are going to fair pretty well,” Hancock said, adding that she is not sure which players will make up her No. 3 doubles team.

Junior Trevor Phillips is the lone BC singles boy with experience.

Senior Enrico Oriesek and freshmen Jim Bradshaw, Coy Campbell, Justus McGee, Owen McPartland and Patrick Stimatz are newcomers to the team. Bradshaw is working double duty between the tennis and track teams.

“I have a good group,” Hancock said. “The five freshman that came in this year are pretty athletic boys. That’s exciting to see. They’ve been picking up on it pretty quickly in practice. I think they’ll do well.”

All of the eight girls on the team are returners. That includes a pair of veteran doubles tandems.

Payton Hartwick will play with fellow senior Sage Wall. Juniors Miranda Murry and Meredith Varady will again pair up as well.

Lucy Kelly will play with fellow sophomore Kate Johnston. Junior Maycee Anderson and sophomore Mollie Drew are experienced singles players.

Hancock said her lineup is not yet set in stone. It will be a work in progress as the season goes on.

“It’s kind of up in the air right now,” she said. “I think Thursday will show a lot.”

The Maroons’ first home action will be April 23 when BC welcomes Corvallis and Hamilton to Stodden Park.

Stodden and West Elementary will also be the site of the Southwestern A Divisional tournament, which is set for May 19-21. The Class A State tournament is the following week in Bozeman.

Hancock said she believes her Maroons will be ready to make a strong push by the time the postseason rolls around.

“They’ll rise to the occasion,” the coach said of her Maroons. “We just need to get some meets under our belts. They’re a good group of kids. We’re having fun with it. We’ll see Thursday how it goes.”

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