Grand Ledge High School girls’ tennis tryouts last week were unlike previous years due to the warm weather and the increase in girls trying out for varsity.
Tryouts were held March 12 through March 16 for two hours every day after school. Although coach Michael Richey originally had tryouts scheduled inside at the Michigan Athletic Club, he said due to the weather, he cancelled those plans to hold them at the high school’s outdoor tennis courts.
“It’s not usually like this in March,” Richey said. “You have to take advantage of the nice weather when you can.”
He said the girls who have been practicing inside most of the winter are a little rusty when they get back outside for the first time.
“I think they’re doing well for their first time outside this year, but I am noticing some depth problems,” Richey said. “It takes some getting used to.”
Senior Amber Bos said it’s weird being outside for tryouts.
“We’re not used to being outside this early, and it is really hot out, so it’s just different this year,” Bos said.
Richey said during tryouts he has the returning girls start practicing and doing drills on one side of the courts while the team prospects will play multiple matches against each other on the other side.
Richey, who has been the varsity girls’ tennis coach for seven years, said the numbers of girls trying out for varsity this year have increased from past years.
“There are 35 girls trying out this year – last year we had 28 – and they’re not bad,” Richey said. “We have seven returning girls with three seniors and there are about 18 girls we are looking at for varsity.”
Richey said they have five spots open for varsity, which is almost half of the team, and he is used to only replacing up to three or four girls.
“I don’t cut any girls,” Richey said. “So all girls are able to play on junior varsity if they would like to.”
Senior Hailey Barrett said she likes the added pressure from the extra girls trying out this year.
“The girls are all good, and it’s good for our program,” Barrett said. “It’s a great thing for the returning girls especially, because it pushes us to work harder.”
The team will start practice on Monday to prepare for the first match scheduled after spring break. Richey said he will not make his decision on who makes varsity until Saturday. Once he has the varsity team decided, he will be able to create the lineup for four singles flights and four doubles flights.
Senior Amber Moore said she thinks the lineup will stay similar to last year’s lineup.
“It might change up some, but it depends,” Moore said. “It usually stays the same because he likes to keep the same partners together each year to make them stronger.”