A new look for Gresham’s tennis team


Max Young, Staff Writer

   One of the school’s smallest teams, tennis, is looking forward to the new season with a new coach and a star senior captain. 

   After the pandemic shut down tennis during the 2019-2020 season, the program’s return in 2020-21 was largely underwhelming. A lack of numbers made it difficult for the team to compete with others in the conference. Despite that, the 21-22 season is looking bright, with enough athletes for a full team and a new head coach, Cyrus Harshfield This year’s boys tennis team is led by Issac Walker, a senior who has been the team captain for three years running. He is widely regarded as the best player the school has to offer, and he is looking forward to seeing how he fares against some of the other schools.

“I started out as a freshman and I’ve been playing since then. I became captain sophomore year, which is surprising, but it’s because we didn’t have a lot of upperclassmen” Walker said.

   In his first year of coaching, Harshfield is looking forward to learning more about the sport as he goes. A limited experience with tennis will allow him to bring new perspectives to the program.

   “We didn’t have tennis in my high school, so I was not able to play,  my experience with tennis is basically watching tennis and seeing the teams out there practicing in the spring as I’m over doing track and field type stuff, which is what I used to do in the past,” Harshfield said. “I am excited to get out there and learn with the guys at the same time and build that atmosphere to get out and compete.”

  As the team looks to grow and get better, they’re putting an emphasis on youth. An investment in young players doesn’t usually pay off right away, but pays off in the future.

   “I’m looking forward to seeing how we improve as a team because we’ve got a lot of new guys. About half the team is new, half have never played for the other half have played before. It will be interesting to see the dynamic of how the veteran players teach the younger players,” team Captain Walker said. “[As well as] how much the younger players improve because it really depends on the person on how fast they improve and to see where we’re at from the beginning to the end of the season,”

   In their first year with the new coach, it will be a learning process for the team.  Veteran players like Issac Walker and Carson Kowalker will be pushed into more of an instructional role. 

   “What’s special is that a lot of the veteran players will be helping more than usual because we have a new coach. He’s never coached tennis before, he’s never played tennis, so the veteran players have to take on a lot more responsibility.  I think that’ll make an interesting dynamic,” Walker said.

   As for a match to look forward to, the team is quite excited to play Barlow as always. The highly anticipated match is on April 21st.

   “I’m looking forward to destroying Barlow,” sophomore tennis player Scally said.