Comprised of a majority of sophomores this season, the Yelm boys tennis team is looking to build a foundation and support a few leaders this year as they look toward their goal of heading to districts.
“Most of them are really good,” said Head Coach Mike “Jefe” McClellan. “I think we have a pretty good chance next year.”
The nine-man varsity roster will return the likes of sophomores Oliver Busina-Kozacek, Thomas Smith, Theodore Ybay, Samuel Harris, Jeffery Myers, Hunter Crayford, Jacob Hensley, junior William Russell and senior Romio Kyser.
As the boys transfer into regular season play (their first match is at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12, against Shelton), McLellan said this is about when he expects his boys to start taking the sport seriously.
Sure, there are the jokesters on the team and it’s fun out on the court, but what McLellan expects this year from his team is for a few leaders to step up.
“A lot of the time, the boys come out for tennis and it’s their first time coming out for a sport,” said McLellan, who’s going on his 27th year coaching for Yelm. “For as much as they’ve played tennis, yeah. They’re making progress.”
McLellan said he couldn’t remember the last time the Yelm boys team made an appearance at districts.
One likely heavy contributor this year could be Busina-Kozacek. At just over 6-feet tall, the sophomore has been putting in some extra hours this summer, McLellan said.
If the current class of sophomores — which makes up almost half of the team’s entire roster — improve just as much as they did last year, McLellan said they could be serious contenders next year.
But for the moment, the team is just trying to figure out who their best single and best pairs are.
“We’ll see how we do. Talk to me in the middle of the season,” McLellan said.