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New coach looks to successful year for Bearcats
August 21, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen - The 2014 Scottsbluff High School boys’ tennis team includes, from left – Back row: Eric Olsen, Mitchell Frank, Jackson Frank, Soren Mercer-Smith, Gunnar Buchhammer, Brady Sindt, Jan Eisser, Mason Ramig, Scott Herman, Thomas Madden and Jackson Ronne. Front row: Patrick Madden, Sean Mercer-Smith, Owen Parra, Conner Muhr, Sam McCaslin, Isaac Bowman and Chance White.

The 18 members of the Scottsbluff High School boys’ tennis team enters the 2014 season under new head coach Maddie Burford.

Although this is Burford’s first year coaching the boys, she’s coached the girls’ team for the past three years.

The team has nine returning players, including three seniors. “I’m a bit more structured than the previous coach, but the players have been responding very well,” Burford said. “We also have seven freshmen and one foreign exchange student who’s never played tennis before.”

She said she’s looking at the team aspect of the game this year. “This is a hard sport to really promote the team because it’s individual effort. My goal is not to focus too much on wins and losses, but the team’s overall improvement. Mental toughness and overall consistency is a big part of that.”

Sean Mercer-Smith is a senior who played both No. 1 and No. 2 singles last year and is expected to have a big season. So is fellow senior Eric Olsen, who mostly played doubles last year and is gunning for a singles spot.

“Right now they’re competing for their spots on the team,” Burford said. “We have some players who are natural athletes and are performing very well.”

She said the team has a ton of talent, and is looking for them to compete well against some tough competition. “I think the boys just need to know they can win. Tennis is all about mental toughness, so they need to believe in themselves.”

2014 Scottsbluff Boys Tennis Schedule

Thursday, Aug. 28 Triangular at Gering, with Alliance – 2 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 30 Invitational at McCook – 11 a.m.
Friday, Sept. 5 Home v. Gillette – 4 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 6 SHS Invitational – 11 a.m.
Friday, Sept. 12 Dual at North Platte – 4 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 13 Invitational at North Platte – 9 a.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 16 Triangular at Alliance JV, with Gering – 2 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 18 Home Dual v. Torrington – 4 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 19 Invitational at Lexington – 9 a.m.
Monday, Sept. 29 Invitational at North Platte JV – 9 a.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 30 Home Triangular with Gering and Alliance – 2 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 4 GNAC at Columbus – 10 a.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 7 Triangular at McCook, with Alliance – 3:30 p.m.
Thursday – Friday, Oct. 16 – 17 State Tournament at Lincoln – TBA

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