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The Current

Tennis Team Smashes Another Season

Bear River’s No. 1 girls player, Shannon Rodriguez, returns a shot during a match. Photo by Maddie Mattson

The Bear River tennis team, through their hard work and determination in league play, led them to a second-place finish in league play and a spot in the playoffs.

Despite losing in the first round, it was a year of tremendous growth for Bear River. 

Some players like Shannon Rodriguez have been playing for a long time, but others such as junior Luke Billingsley is new to the squad.

“I’ve been playing tennis since before I could walk. So a very long time,” joked Rodriguez, the No. 1 player on the girls team.

“It’s been a great time so far, I joined late in the season but I’m enjoying it a lot,” Billingsly said. “We’re playing well and finished 11-3, so we’re looking forward to the playoffs.” 

“We had a pretty good season, I’m just a little disappointed how it ended,” Rodriguez said about the first-round exit.

The season was also interrupted on multiple occasions by the crazy weather we had during the spring, which made even getting practice impossible at times. The team also faced several logistical challenges this year. The lack of transportation provided by the district has made it difficult to arrange travel to and from games. This has created added stress and difficulty for the players, who have had to rely on their own modes of transportation.

Despite all that, a number of Bruins contributed to the successful season.

Some standout performers include Faith Johnson, Jonathan Smith, Sofia Rodriguez, Bella Rodriguez, Ethan Hurd, Risto Sartori and Tallon Smith.

Billingsley also shares a true, yet funny reason for joining the varsity tennis team.

“If I’m being honest, it’s because Coach Kerr told me it would be fun and relaxing, and he offered me free snacks to join,” Billingsly said.

Billingsley also believes the league to be very competitive.

“The league is overall pretty tough, but we are pretty good,” he said. “Even during practices, I can get a little over- competitive, but it is pretty tough. There aren’t any gimmies.”

He has been playing boys doubles, where he and his partner have enjoyed the season.

“I like playing doubles with my partner Jack Woody. We have a good chemistry and we enjoy playing most of the time,” Billingsly said.

Though competitive and serious, the tennis team also shows just how enjoyable of an experience it can be. With the duality between relaxment and competitiveness, the tennis team shows just how successful they can be against tough opponents. 

“I just enjoyed playing random games during practice— King of the Hill, stuff like that,” Rodriguez said. “All the random matches against random people were fun.”

One of the girl’s varsity players, Alexis Rommelfanger, continues to show her competitiveness through her great league play. 

“It’s really fun and good,” she said. “It’s a new sport for me so there was a learning curve but overall the team has been really supportive and helpful.”

“I think our team has grown a lot,” Rodriguez said. “We got a lot of new players at the beginning of the season, and they’ve really grown.”

Rommelfanger also started playing tennis because of Kerr.

“I got started because of Coach Kerr,” she said. “I’ve had him since my sophomore year, and he’s always encouraged me to come out and try tennis.”

From her all-around experiences, she has shown to be a great addition to the team, both as a teammate and a competitor.

— Conner Drymon contributed to this story

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Tennis Team Smashes Another Season