Girls & Boys Tennis Springs to a Start

Nearly 50 Athletes are Hopeful for Another Promising Season

Elizabeth Ezekiel

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Last Wednesday, nearly 30 girls and 20 boys joined together in the cafeteria to sign up for one of the various sports offered in the Tewksbury community: spring tennis. Among the throng of other spring sports that the high school offers, including track, lacrosse, baseball, and softball, tennis generally does not receive a lot of media attention or publicity from the athletic department. These past few years, however, this trend is beginning to change due to the strong leadership from the upperclassmen, a team of passionate coaches, and an improving record that promises an exciting season this spring.

Although the team traditionally has a reputation of not being particularly “intense” due to the no-cut policy, the athletes quickly learned that the next two weeks would include a grueling tryout process, called challenge matches, to earn one of the selective seven varsity spots. This style of tryouts includes each member of the returning varsity roster playing each other player, and then whoever accumulates the most wins over the two weeks will play at the top spots. Both the boys and girls teams have been fortunate in receiving court time at Trull Brook Tennis Center, located in north Tewksbury, which allows the varsity teams to work their way through the challenge matches during the beginning of the season since the March weather can be unpredictable.

This year’s lineup after challenge matches ended in this manner: 1st Singles – Elizabeth Ezekiel (sen.) and Alek Cranston (fr.); 2nd Singles – Sydney Crowley (jr.) and Daryl Quek (sen.); 3rd Singles – Alexia Chesbrough (jr.), Veronica Trull (so.), and Aklilu Aaron (sen.); Girls Doubles – Emma White (sen.), Alexis Hillis (sen.), Elizabeth Taggart (jr.), Jaime Burns (so.); Boys Doubles – Derek Wallace (sen.), Benjamin Froment (sen.), Brandon Pham (sen.), and Patrick Dunn (sen.).

The six captains – Elizabeth Ezekiel, Emma White, Rosalyn Impink, Alexis Hillis, Derek Wallace, and Aklilu Aaron – have all been playing for four years on the JV and varsity teams, and have been an influential driving force in the growing of the program over the last couple years. Due to the generosity of the Trull family, the teams have been able to host captains practices at Trull Brook Tennis Center, without any financial charge, since the winter. This has allowed the team to physically prepare for the year by engaging in preseason workouts, but also gave the new team members an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the team environment.

The teams are lead by girls’ coaches Mary MacDonald and April McDermott, and boys’ coach Rick Keene. The first scrimmage will be Monday, April 1st against Wilmington, and the first official game is Monday, April 8th verse Andover, a frequent league champion. Both teams are optimistic about improving their records from last season and hopefully advancing to the state tournament, as well.