by MATTHEW NASH
The determination and willingness are there and now Sequim’s boys tennis squad will have to wait and see how they stack up.
“I’m pleased with how they’ve started,” says head coach Mark Textor. “Their work ethic and especially their attitude stand out. It’s a great group of kids. They’re all good sports and all coachable.”
Last season, the team went 5-10 overall and saw graduated senior Matthew Richards advance to state and take eighth overall in the 2A state tournament. It was his second time at state and fourth appearance at districts.
Textor returns as head coach this fall after assisting his daughter Justine Wagner last year. She shifts to assistant coach this season and Textor makes his third stint after serving as head coach from 2003-2007 and 2009-2013 before coaching in South America for a year. Textor said Wagner will continue to lead the girls team as head coach in the spring and he’ll be her assistant.
Aside from Richards, the varsity core all returns with seniors Dillon Liebert, Stephen Prorok, Justin Porter, junior Tim Porter, and sophomores Blake Wiker, Thomas Hughes, Damon Little and Raymond Lam.
While players like Porter and Prorok saw success as a doubles team last year, Textor said the singles and doubles players haven’t been determined.
“It’s too early to know,” he said.
His philosophy is to have players try singles and doubles through the season and make a determination later in the season that they’ll settle into going toward the postseason.
This year, 20 boys have signed up, which Textor said is a good daily turnout.
“I’m not sure where we’re going to finish in the league,” Textor said. “We’re going to improve and have a chance to beat some teams. We’re not the top team but we’re going to work hard to become the top team.”
Sequim already hosted its first match of the season on Sept. 6 against Olympic, barring the weather. They’ll travel to North Mason on Thursday, Sept. 8, and host Bremerton on Wednesday, Sept. 14, for their next home match where they begin a four-match home stand.