Miners busy midway through season
Spring break is officially over for the Park City Miners boys tennis team.
Returning from a week of rest and relaxation, the boys were immediately back to business on the court with three challenging matches scheduled against Judge, Rowland Hall and Skyline within a week, as well as a United States Tennis Association (USTA) tournament in Las Vegas over Easter weekend.
According to Miners head coach Warren Pretorius, the week was not all by design. Judge, as a Region 10 competitor, is scheduled far in advance, but he scheduled Skyline next Tuesday to help maintain midseason team energy and focus.
"Skyline will be one of the tougher teams," Pretorius said. "I scheduled them, so they could have challenging matches closer to the end."
The varsity boys slipped by Judge, winning in straight sets on Tuesday, although some games were closer than usual in their first match after the holiday.
"For a lot of our guys it was rust from spring break," Pretorius said.
Thursday’s match against Rowland Hall offered an interesting challenge for the entire Miners team. The top singles players headed for the Easter Circuit in Las Vegas, forcing the Park City doubles players into the singles slot and the junior varsity into doubles play.
Originally, Pretorius tried to reschedule the match, but then realized it would be smarter to keep the original scheduling.
"They were excited," Pretorius said. "It takes a little more coaching. It’s a good opportunity because we’re hoping these guys step up and play varsity next year."
The experiment worked. Only David Marsh in the difficult No. 1 singles shot lost 6-1, 7-6. The other Miners won in straight sets. The results will be recorded as a junior varsity competition, but Pretorius was happy to offer the team some extra competition.
It marked the second time in the season that Pretorius allowed his junior varsity to play against the "big boys" of the varsity ranks. At the St. George Tournament, at the beginning of the season, he entered his varsity and junior varsity teams into the varsity-level competition. Generally, the junior varsity players will end up playing practice matches against each others, because most Utah prep teams don’t have the numbers or depth of the Park City squad. challenging the players intermittently throughout the season, Pretorius hopes to keep the guys further down on the depth chart interested in the team. He also added that many of his junior varsity players are at the same level as varsity players on other teams.
"We always tell our kids that even if they are not playing, they have to realize how important they are to the team," Pretorius said, "I’ve stressed the fact that it’s no fun sitting around. If I had my way, they would all play."
Keeping the Rowland Hall match also meant that all of the Miners would have played challenging matches by the end of the weekend.
"With four guys playing a very high level of tennis in Vegas and guys here playing a high level for them As far as growth, this is a really good weekend," Pretorius said.
Pretorius says that he does not expect absolute success from any of his players, just overall improvement.
"We’re not in this for the wins. So what if we lose? On the grand scale, it’s good for the team," Pretorius said.
And ultimately, as winners of multiple 3A state titles, the constant striving for excellence may be the key to the Miners success.
"They just want to be active," Pretorius said. "The winning or losing has nothing to do with it. If you go out and try, good things will happen."
The Miners will play Skyline on the road on Tuesday, April 18 at 3 p.m.
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