Cowboys struggle to win matches but gain valuable experience
For the first time in several years, the Crook County High School boys tennis team was unable to qualify anyone for the OSAA Class 4A State Tennis Championships.
However, that doesn't mean that the season wasn't a success for the Cowboys.
Under the leadership of second-year head coach Jonny Oelkers, the team saw a huge increase in the number of tennis players.
That increase in participation should pay dividends down the road.
However, that doesn't mean that the team isn't losing significant talent.
This year's No. 1 singles player, Cayden Quinn, who just missed a trip to the state tournament, graduates, as do Brian Dominguez, Jaime Ortiz, and Riley Logan.
All four players have played varsity tennis for at least the last two years, and some have been on the varsity team for four seasons.
The team also loses foreign exchange students Premysl Pospisil and Tommaso Paperini, who both quickly learned the game and earned varsity spots on this year's roster.
Despite the loses, the Cowboys still return eight players who have earned varsity experience, including No. 1 singles team Alex and Moses Freauff.
The team also returns No. 2 singles player Alex Nyman as well as Jordan Owens, Garrett Bond, Jon Rocha, Nicolas Cushman and Jesse Gore, who all have at least some varsity experience.
The team returns several other players, who although they did not play in varsity matches this past year still gained valuable experience.
In addition, several members of this year's team are working hard this summer, participating in the summer tennis program as well as competing in a handful of summer tournaments.
Oelkers is also expecting to gain team members as a number of players who have participated in the Crook County Parks and Recreation youth tennis program will enter the high school as freshmen next year.
Although the team does not have any dominant players, Oelkers is confident that with so many talented athletes the quality of tennis will continue to improve, making the future of Crook County boys tennis bright.