3/3/2013 6:00:00 AM Veteran Kingman High netters seek success
Kingman High junior Patrick Chastain returns a volley during his match with Prescott Valley Bradshaw Mountain’s Kyle Jewell Thursday afternoon. Chastain lost the match 4-6, 6-2 and 10-1 tiebreaker as the Bulldogs opened the season losing to the Bears. RODNEY HAAS/Miner
KINGMAN - In some cases when a new coach takes over, they do so at the start of a rebuilding year.
That's the not the case for Ryan Gery, who stepped in as head Kingman High boys tennis coach after Jim Skommesa resigned over the summer. Gery will take over a squad that has just two seniors and nine juniors.
"I have a veteran team this year," Gery said. "I have a lot of guys that have been here before. Some of them are new players. I think as a team we are going to develop over time."
The Bulldogs will be led by returning junior Gregory Franklin, who lost to Prescott Valley Bradshaw Mountain's Max Miller, 6-2, 7-5 Thursday to open the season. Franklin played as the No. 1 singles player and will be joined by fellow returning juniors Patrick Chastain, David Caddick and Trayson Rubio as they battle for spots within the top six of the varsity squad.
"They are all spread out throughout the top six," Gery said. "They are battling for positions."
Newcomers Alex Noel and Ronnie Walters are expected to contribute. Both are seniors, with Noel a foreign exchange student from Belgium.
"Ronnie Walters is a senior but it's the first time he's played tennis," Gery said. "He has the potential to get there but he lacks the experience. He will get that over the season."
Walters lost to Joey Cilano, 6-0, 6-0 Thursday afternoon. In other matches, Noel fell to William Walderlich (6-1, 6-0); Chastain fell to Kyle Jewell, (4-6, 6-2 and 10-1 tiebreaker); Rubio dropped a 6-2, 6-2 match to Austin Powell; and Caddick lost to Josh Miller 6-3, 6-1.
"We've lost this match, but they are only going to get better as the season progresses."
If anything, all the Bulldogs have to do is look at what their counterparts did in 2012. After enduring a slow start last year, the KHS girls tennis team proceeded to close out the regular season with eight consecutive match wins and a spot in the State Division I team tournament.
"We can do the same thing," Grey said. "I think once we get into the swing of things and start playing more matches and getting over the first match jitters, we should be good."
The Bulldogs competed in the Kiwanis Tournament in Peoria on Friday and Saturday and will host Flagstaff on Monday.
"I'm looking forward to the year. It's going to be a good year," Grey said.