CHS tennis team has shining season

| May 22, 2017

COSHOCTON – The Coshocton High School Tennis team has never had a shortage of players. The smallest team they have ever had was 14 players. This year, 17 students (seven varsity) played for the school. Kevin Kittell has been the tennis coach for 17 years and still enjoys coaching as much as when he started.

“Tennis is a life-long game, like golf.  It’s good to get lots of kids interested in school because it’s something they can play for the rest of their lives. Tennis is like chess – you have to learn strategies to combat your opponent’s moves,” said Kittell. “It’s always fun to watch the players learn and grow in the sport. Everyone on the team showed great improvement this year. I’ve driven by the school on the weekends and have seen players hitting balls around the courts. That’s how dedicated the players are.”

The last few years, the tennis team has basically had to start over each season as players graduate and move on. Thanks to a great coaching staff (Kittell has a volunteer coach, PJ Bair that assists him with coaching the team) and the dedication of the players, the team has had solid seasons even with the rebuilding.

The team ended the season with a 6-10 record. Even though the players compete on different courts, they are still part of one team. The players are very supportive of each other and all have a strong work ethic that has allowed them to grow as individuals and as a team.

Kittell said the first doubles team of Collin Shaw and Blake Barrick and first singles player, Braeden Wheeler went to sectionals this year. Unfortunately, the doubles team was facing illness and didn’t make it to the districts, but Wheeler travelled to Athens on May 20 to play at Ohio University.

His season ended with losses of 6-1, 6-1, but the junior is looking forward to playing next year. Tracie Wheeler, his mother, said, “His dad and I are so proud of him. He worked really hard to get to districts and he plays better all of the time.”

“Braeden has shown huge improvement, even in the last week,” said Kittell. “He played doubles last year (the first year he played) and lettered. This year, I told him he was going to be the first singles player. He asked to be third, but I told him he was the guy for the position and that playing first singles would make him a better player.” Kittell said Wheeler got beat a few times at the beginning of the season, but came back by working hard and continues to show improvement. “I wish I had recorded his first match as a singles player, then his last.  It’s like a different player, he improved so much.”

“Our goal at the beginning of every season is to send players to the post-season.  This year, the likelihood of that happening wasn’t high, but we did it. I’m looking forward to next year, already,” said Kittell.


Category: High School, Sports

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