Miners swing into the seasonDefending 3A state champs start year with win against Lone Peak
As the No. 2 doubles team from Lone Peak High School exited the tennis courts after the match against Park City’s Tyson Smith and Hunter Nicholas, they commented to their coach, "These guys are kamikazes. They come after you 24-7."
And so went the rest of the match hosted by the Miners. As the defending 3A State champions, the team is stacked with talent and only seems to have added to their dominance with powerful freshman, such as Nicholas. From the No. 1 singles position all the way down to the No. 2 doubles, the Miners easily beat Lone Peak in straight sets.
Pretorius says that despite the team’s prowess, their focus is not just on winning.
"Our goal this season is not to win State. It’s to play to our potential," Pretorius said. "If we give our all and don’t win, we’re fine."
Pretorius said he was very pleased with how his team performed in their season debut, especially the No. 2 doubles duo.
"I see some really good things with our No. 2 team," Pretorius said. "I think they played very well."
The team is playing without the help of the team’s best player Fletcher Keyes, who will miss much of the season’s start with a wrist injury, but Pretorius isn’t worried.
"We’re one of the few teams that could lose the No. 1 player and still have a perfect season," Pretorius said. "We’ve got all these guys ready to play."
The team has expanded its year, stretching its roster to 25 athletes. Pretorius says its his policy never to reject an interested player.
"I hate to turn any kid away from tennis. They never play again after high school," Pretorius said. "That’s why we have such a strong program. It’s a system that feeds on itself."
With this mission in mind, Pretorius uses the extra players to keep stats, boost team morale, all the while helping them improve their game. Helping Pretorius out with all of the boys this year is Tim Donnelly, the Park City girls’ team assistant coach. This is the first year Pretorius has sought assistance, but felt it was necessary to manage the large squad.
Pretorius is also committed to team building. He requires his varsity players to stay and cheer on the junior varsity and plans on using upcoming away matches, such as the St. George Tournament next weekend, to focus on team building. With so many new players, Pretorius says strong team morale is crucial.
In the meantime, the boys will face Bountiful High School on Tuesday, March 21 at the Park City Racquet Club at 3 p.m. As one of top teams in 4A, Pretorius hopes that the players will continue to play their best.
"We’re performance oriented, not results oriented," Pretorius said.
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