CEC boys in search of depth this seasonOnce again, the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys tennis team has big numbers in its program, but finding experience in depth will be a challenge for the coming season.
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
Once again, the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys tennis team has big numbers in its program, but finding experience in depth will be a challenge for the coming season.
Two dozen players, but only two seniors, are out for this year’s team.
“That’s more players than we need for a varsity team but it’s down from what we have had,” Coach Steve Rickstrom said. “We need to find some experience, especially at the doubles positions.”
Singles positions appear to be set, with the team’s two seniors, John Scheuer and Tanner Webster, holding down two of the spots.
Rickstrom had hoped to have more seniors, but both halves of the doubles team of Cameron Hallfrisch and Josiah Sickler didn’t come out for the team. “They got jobs and are making some money,” Rickstrom said. “We will miss them a lot.”
Sean Kedrowski and freshman Christian Pritchett are expected to hold down the other two singles positions, but it’s in the doubles where most of the team’s challenges reside.
“This year we will probably end up starting at least two middle-school players full time and maybe three,” Rickstrom said. “We have three 10th-graders who think they’re ready to play but they’ll be pushed.”
“I’m a little bit worried about the doubles teams,” Rickstrom said. “We don’t have a lot of experience there with the remaining guys. Luke Heine will be a key player in doubles but the trick is to find him a partner. We have kids who think they can play but we need someone who can play No. 1 doubles and not all of them are ready to do that.”
Ryan Lind, a candidate to play as Heine’s partner, hurt his shoulder playing hockey and will be lost to surgery in two weeks.
“If we had Ryan, that problem would be solved,” Rickstrom said. “But now we are scrambling to put doubles together.”
The team starts its schedule Tuesday at home against Eveleth-Gilbert and plays next Thursday at Aitkin.
“Those are good tests,” Rickstrom said. “We like playing both teams. Eveleth is always good and Aitkin is an even match. If we match up well with those teams we will probably have a good year. If we get blown out of the water, we might have a long summer in terms of finding some wins.”