Young Bearcat netters learn from tough GNAC competition
     2012-10-05      By Terry Gaston   
While the Scottsbluff boys’ tennis team brought up the rear of the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference tennis tournament pack on Saturday at Norfolk, Bearcat coach Ron Swank said many positives could be taken away from the tough, eight-team event for the young Bearcats.

Scottsbluff scored just four team points, well behind three-time champion Kearney’s winning 38-point total. North Platte was a close second with 33 points, while McCook had 27 points in edging Hastings with 23 for third.

Scottsbluff’s one junior singles player, Alex Harbach, had one victory in his last scheduled match, which came by default against Columbus. The Bearcats’ No. 1 doubles team of senior Traver Pettijohn and junior Logan Woodward defeated Columbus’ No. 1 tandem in their final match, 9-7.

No. 2 sophomore singles player Eric Olsen and the No. 2 doubles team of junior Court Muhr and freshman Owen Parra were both shut out in their seven round-robin matches, although Swank said not all was lost for those participants.

“We had a tough weekend,” Swank said. “However, we got some valuable experience for Owen Parra, Court Muhr, and Eric Olsen. All three are new to the sport and have made tremendous progress since first picking up a racquet at the start of tennis practice on Aug. 6 of this year.

“We had 14 players out this year and we have played 12 of them in a varsity match. This gives them a good taste of the competition and hopefully inspires them to work with our coaches in the off-season.

Success in tennis is achieved in the off-season, especially the summer months before practice starts.“

Scottsbluff completed its regular-season schedule Tuesday with a 4-0 loss to McCook at the new SHS courts.

“We followed the format that will be used at the state tournament in Lincoln next week,” Swank said of the best-of-three schedule that the Bearcats and Bison used.

The Class B State Tournament is next Thursday and Friday at the Nebraska Tennis Center and will offer the stage for the conclusion of Gering’s first boys’ tennis season. A preview of Gering and Scottsbluff’s state participants will be in next week’s Gering Citizen.

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