By Nathan Steiner
Alec Shue, a senior at Red Lion Area Senior High School, is excited for the upcoming tennis season. Working up to this year, Shue has played tennis all of his life, and is very passionate about the sport.
Shue says that the goal for the season is for the team to move onto districts, and as a personal goal, to get second in counties.
When asked what his role as a leader consisted of, he described that he likes to lead by example. “I would say i'm more of a silent leader,” Shue said. “I believe that it's the best way to show the younger kids on the team how to handle themselves, and how to play a solid match of tennis.”
By Helen Zeidman
Last year, the girls’ tennis team was a group of eight girls, most of whom were new to the team and the sport.
This year, they are aiming to make a racket with their larger team and more experienced players.
Ryan Small, the new coach of the team, has high hopes for the girls this year. “I think we have a good group of girls this season and our varsity players have more experience this year,” Small said. “Four out of the five on varsity were on varsity last year.”
Along with their more experienced players, the total number of players on the team jumped from eight to eleven. Considering the loss of three ladies from last year, the team has made a full recovery in numbers.
The top five players, who are considered varsity, are as follows: Kristina Snyder, a homeschooled sophomore entering her first year on the team, Alison Miller, a senior in her fourth year on the team, and three juniors, Tori Austin, Helen Zeidman, and Emily Zeidman.
With a new team to work with, Small has many goals for his team, including focusing on the basic singles play. “I want to improve our singles play and work on becoming the toughest team, mentally and physically,” Small said.
Doubles play is also an important part of any tennis match, and Coach Small aims to help the team with their doubles skills too. “I also really want to improve our doubles teams to make them more aggressive at the right times,” Small said. “Doubles is the key to a good many matches, so if we can control the net and be aggressive, we have a chance in any close matches.”
Ultimately, Small’s goal is to have a better season and post-season than last year. “I want our record to improve and I want more of our girls to get into the county tournament,” Small said.
By Helen Zeidman
Even though the snow has barely melted from the courts, the boys’ tennis season is now in full swing.
The team has 16 players this season, which is two players down from last year. According to Mrs. Vasellas, the head coach of the boys’ tennis team, they lost two starters from last year, Angel and Max Moyer.
Regardless of the loss, Vasellas is hopeful for this season.
“Sports have cycles over the years. One year is loaded with players, and the next you end up losing key players. That is just how it works,” Vasellas said.
They may have lost a couple of players, but the team is still strong.
The team is led by Sam Innerst, the first ranked player on the team. Innerst has been starting since his freshman year and has held the number one position since his sophomore year.
Player ranking is determined by playing a series of challenge matches. Each player will challenge other players in matches and the winner will move up the ranking ladder. The players are ranked by the number of games they won against their teammates.
This ranking determines who players will face off against on other teams. The number one players will play the number one player from the other team.
The number two seed this year is Alec Shue, a freshman who made his debut on the team this year.
Junior Alex Ohme plays as the third seed.
Nicholas Stare, also a junior, is playing as the fourth seed on team, and senior Dylan Reichard is playing in the fifth spot.
All of the top five seeds are expected to alternate for doubles varsity with Dylan Reichard and Chase McKnight. So far, Sam Innerst and Alec Shue, and Alec Gayrama and Nicholas Stare have been paired for doubles matches.
Mrs. Vasellas has the same goal this year as every other year she coached.
“Every year my goal is to win the championship. It is always a good goal to have even though it is not always realistic.” Vasellas said. “I don’t know what kind of coach I’d be without a goal.”
The team came close to that goal last year, when they tied for third place in their division with Dallastown and New Oxford.
Ultimately, Vasellas just wants the best for her team.
“I look forward to the chance of bettering our record from last year.” Vasellas said.
In order to make that goal happen, the team trains intensely, as playing tennis requires more than just hitting a ball with a racquet.
The boys’ tennis team is on their way to do even better this year, but the successful group was not made overnight.
Their practices during the season cater to the different skill levels of the players and help everyone improve.
According to Vasellas, the practices start with a standard warm-up that includes stretching and running. Afterward, the team practices singles and doubles drills to perfect their technique. Then, the fun begins.
“In each practice, we also try to include some singles and doubles play which helps prepare the players for match play,” Vasellas said.
According to Mr. Small, an assistant coach of the team, the boys practice their skills all year.
“We do a lot of off-season practicing,” Mr. Small, an assistant coach, said. “Players do clinics, lessons, and various other things to keep up.”
When the weather makes it impossible to practice outside, the players continue to train indoors.
“From December to the first day of practice, we go indoors at Wisehaven to play and practice,” Vasellas said. “This would be only one time per week for the students who want to participate however, several of the players take lessons or clinics or play in leagues in addition.”
The summer is also a critical time for tennis training.
“During the summer we have open courts where the players can work on skills and play,” Vasellas said. “We also had the players do strength training, conditioning and agility drills over the summer.”
The players do not take the opportunity to train for granted.
“This winter, I went to Wisehaven to practice with the team,” Levi Jones, a sophomore on the team, said. “I learned and became a lot better.”
Tennis may be a lot of work, but the players think the work is worth being a together as a team.
“I like the people that I got to meet on the team,” Jones said. “I have gotten to meet a lot of people who are of different backgrounds.”
By Ben Logan
There are athletes all over the world who yearn to strive to the top. One of these such people is none other than Red Lion’s very own tennis player Sam Innerst.
Last year, Innerst placed second overall in the county championships, earning him a spot to play in the YAIAA districts championships, where he placed sixth. This however did not satisfy his thirst. “I want to win districts this year,” Innerst says, “Will it happen...meh, there are some pretty good kids, but I’m confident in my abilities.”
Head Coach Ronda Vaselles states that, “Sam has limitless potential. He is both a great individual and team player, and seems to really pull the team together. He is almost like a big brother.”
When asked about any specific plans for the future, Innerst stated that he has big plans for his tennis career: “I hope to go to college and continue my career and hopefully improve.” Sam has been playing tennis for nine years, and has throughout his career earned a reputation in York County, as well as the state of Pennsylvania.
In the 2011-2012 school year, Innerst ranked number three in Red Lion, behind Grant Williams, and his very own brother Dustin.
In Sam’s sophomore year, he was ranked number one, securing a third place in counties and traveling to districts for the first time. This year he still reigns champion of Red Lion, sitting at the number one spot.
“I like to not think about winning or losing when I get out on the court,” Innerst says, “I really just focus on my overall performance as a player, and do my best. When we lose...yeah it sucks, but I know that I can improve and look forward to just playing and winning in the next match.” When asked about preparation for such matches, Innerst stated that he engages in, “A lot of running, and a lot of practice (laughs).”
Though being a number one player for a sport can be very stressful, Innerst says that it is still very fun, and longs to make it his career in the future.
WATCH: Video piece on Sam Innerst's high school career: click here.
Baseball is one of the most affected spring sports that have had to deal with inclement weather so far, causing them to play countless back-to-back games.
By Ben Logan
It is probably safe to assume that what many people take away from the 2014 spring sports season will be the never-ending rainouts and the ever-changing schedule for sports teams in York County.
It seems to be the season of rain this spring, as many sports games and matches have been canceled, postponed, or ditched on account of the odd storms in occurrence this year. Schedules are all booked up for RL sports teams, and some could say that they have no elbow room left over to use for conditioning. “The rain has really limited practice time above all,” Athletic Director Mr. Fritzius said. “Some have gone without practice for weeks.”
Among these teams include baseball, lacrosse, and tennis; all of whom have seen game cancellations throughout their seasons. These events have been rescheduled to later dates, weekends included, and have seriously cut into practice time for the teams.
“We have had quite a few games cancelled, and so far we have only had eight games in total in a month with barely any actual time to learn our plays, or formations because of practice cancellations,” sophomore lacrosse player Nick Shima said.
“Pitchers in baseball after they throw 5 or more innings typically need 4 days rest. This is a huge problem for us because when you have games back to back to back you run into not having enough pitching.”
The Red Lion boy’s tennis team has seen the most harm, receiving six postponements for their matches alone, with multiple practices being canceled as well. “The rain has been brutal,” said freshman tennis player Max Moyer. “And now we have nine matches in a row, without any practice.”
Some are worried that the horrible weather might affect their playtime negatively. However, Fritzius assures that this is not the case, Time is not really a problem, but if it comes down to it we will be willing to skip exhibition matches in order to finish out the regular season, and that is what really matters.”
Though reassuring, many spring sports seasons do not conclude until the beginning of May, and April showers may still come around and make it tough for teams to play. “I really hope that it doesn’t rain again,” commented tennis player Alec Gayrama. “I would be upset, but I am keeping my hopes up.”
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