Miners tennis seeking support
At the beginning of every season, Park City boys tennis coach Warren Pretorius holds a meeting with the seniors on his team to determine the direction for the year.
This year, the three-time defending 3A State Champions didn’t chose winning at all costs or ruling the school. In fact, their suggestion was quite the opposite community.
Much like the football team they wanted to be able to allow anybody interested in joining the tennis to be able to do so no tryouts or cuts.
"We had a lot of guys who were seniors who just wanted to be a part of the team," senior team captain Nick VonDerAhe said. "We want anyone willing to work hard for the team."
They also wanted to make Park City a part of their program.
Luckily, such noble goals seemed to go hand-in hand. With 25 guys that eventually joined this year’s team, travel and uniform expenses were much higher. The seniors also decided that team costs should not be a burden for their’s or anyone else’s parents. So, VonDerAhe decided a great way to garner community involvement was to share their vision of a large, inclusive team with local residents and business owners and ask for their financial support.
"I think being the three-time state champs in town, we should be able to do something to lessen our debt," VonDerAhe said.
VonDerAhe took some ideas from a friend who plays high school tennis in Las Vegas and devised a plan. Using empty tennis ball cans, he stuffed a personal letter detailing the team’s success and the need for financial support. He also included a return envelope for people to sends checks to the high school. Then, with the help of teammate Chris Loomis, they began distributing the cans around town. The response was quite favorable. So far, the team has raised almost $1,000, but VonDerAhe hopes to garner even more support. Although the team is halfway through the season, they still have many away matches, including this year’s 3A State tournament in St. George, which will be pricey.
VonDerAhe said that by involving the community, it enables them to be part of what is fast becoming a tennis dynasty. If the team wins the state title this year, then the graduating seniors will have won all four years of their high school career. And the success doesn’t stop there. With many of the starting players highly ranked by the United States Tennis Association (USTA), the boys tennis team is among the top prep tennis programs in the country. The varsity is undefeated thus far this season, and beat another top 3A program, Ogden, on Thursday in straight sets.
"I don’t think the city knows that we are one of the top national teams," VonDerAhe said.
He says that if and when the Miners win the state crown, they plan to run a "thank you" advertisement in The Park Record to all contributors for being part of the team.
"It really means increased success for us, because we can play all the top teams in the state 4A, 5A. It gives us the opportunity to show what we can do. Be the best that we can be."
VonDerAhe and the boys tennis team welcome any and all donations. Checks may made out to the Park City High Boys Tennis Team. They may be sent to the high school athletic director’s office in c/o Doug Payne, Activities Director, Park City High School, 1750 Kearns Blvd., Park City, Utah 84060.
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