Nelson tennis preparing for move-up

Posted Monday, Sep. 09, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The fall tennis season is well under way, and Nelson is preparing for the remainder of their district matches as well as a move up to 5A next year.

Bryan Combest is in his first year as Nelson’s head coach after serving as assistant last year. Next season will be another year of firsts when the Bobcats make the move to the higher classification.

In order to prepare for what’s ahead, the Bobcats tennis team is engaged in taking on as many top competitors as possible while also positioning themselves for a playoff spot.

Currently at 3-4, the team is 1-1 in district matches. They lost to Wichita Falls Rider 11-8, but blanked Lake Dallas 19-0. The next two Tuesdays will bring Wichita Falls and Denton Guyer.

“If we can take Guyer and Old High (Wichita Falls) down, we’ll be in good shape,” Combest said. “But Birdville has had good showings and we hope for a top two finish and a shot at regionals.”

This season, the format for qualifying for the playoffs was expanded to the top four teams from each district moving on. Last season’s fourth-place finish left Nelson just out of the fall postseason.

The improvement of play by the Bobcats seems to continue as new faces have joined the squad.

Ford Thamsiriboon is new to Nelson and has been playing in the top boys singles spot but is also playing as part of an amazing doubles team with Kyle Green, Combest said.

Combest also mentioned much of the team’s spirit is initiated by Max Richardson.

Ashton Wunsch, a junior captain, is back from a strong sophomore season and has picked up where she left off.

“We definitely have the potential for making regionals,” Wunsch said. “Our teamwork is getting better and we can even make it to state,” she said.

Senior Brady Whitfield also said the chemistry is creating better play on the court.

“We’ve definitely improved,” he said, “and we’re playing teams closer even if we’re not winning. The team is closer. We’ve got some new people and the level of effort has stepped up.”

Many team members are having a great season, Combest said. “We have a lot of players that are 5-2.”

Wunsch said the scheduling this season is loaded with more Friday matches than in the past as the Bobcats prepare for what 5A may bring.

The additional games, where possible, are allowing players such as Wunsch improve in many areas.

“I had hurt my foot in the summer and had been a little off my game,” Wunsch said. “I’m getting better each week and hope to be pumping out good wins by the end of the season.”

The fall season is often referred to as the “team season” as matches score the total number of boys’ and girls’ singles and doubles matches to determine a team winner. The spring season places more emphasis on the individuals’ play for determining match winners. The fall season includes singles players normally playing doubles, as well.

Wunsch said she previously preferred singles but that doubles in high school is more fun.

“I like the fall season because you can watch your fellow teammates play,” she said. “I think that has helped us build a team bond.”

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