Bearcat netters look for continued, steady improvement
     2013-08-22      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Lisa Betz/Gering Citizen - The 2013 Bearcat Tennis Team members are front row from the left, Owen Para, Damian Clary , Mitchell Frank, Soren Mercer-Smith, Court Muhr, Brady Sindt; middle row, Trey Vonburg, Giovanni Aldridge, Gunner Buchhammer, Brad Divan, Sean Mercer-Smith; back row, Coach Swank, Ethan Dudden, Patric Madden, Blake Wilberger, Jackson Frank and Eric Olsen. 
SCOTTSBLUFF — Third-year Scottsbluff boys’ tennis coach Ron Swank has watched the Bearcats achieve steady growth from young, inexperienced players to having gained steady progress.
If intra-squad competition is any indication, the Bearcats look to be even feistier this fall in a season that begins Aug. 29 with a triangular at Alliance that includes Gering.

Senior Logan Woodward, a No. 2 doubles state qualifier with junior Blake Wilberger, has worked his way into a group of three solid singles players in early intra-squad competitions.

Junior Eric Olsen played at No. 2 singles at state for the Bearcats last fall and returns as a top threat for one of the varsity singles spots again.

Junior Sean Mercer-Smith, who made state in No. 1 doubles as a sophomore, also is a singles threat. Swank said among the three top singles players, the third will play at doubles when an event has just two singles divisions.

Other doubles probables joining Wilberger at the No. 1 tandem include sophomore Owen Para, while junior Jackson Frank and senior Court Muhr look to form the Bearcats’ No. 2 doubles team.
Four players are vying for spots on the No. 3 doubles team: junior Brad Divan, freshmen Soren Mercer-Smith and Brady Sindt, and exchange student Giovanni Aldridge.

“My first two seasons, we got blown out a lot, and we were basically a JV squad going up against varsities, and so now we actually have a varsity going against varsities,” Swank said. “I don’t want to predict that we’ll win a lot, but we’ll be in the matches this year.”
Otherwise, Swank has seen the team’s overall depth grow from 10 players in 2011 to 17 this year.

“I’m going to have some great problems, because I have 10-12 guys who are really going to be in there,” Swank said. “We’re getting more and more. Our guys have really hit the camps this year and that did them a lot of good. The kids have worked hard this summer, and that’s really the key in tennis.”

Scottsbluff schedule

Aug. 29 at Alliance Triangular vs. Gering, 4:30 p.m.
Aug. 31 at McCook Invitational
Sept. 6 vs. Gillette, Wyo. (Dual), 4 p.m.
Sept. 7 Scottsbluff Invitational, 9 a.m.
Sept. 13 at North Platte (Dual)
Sept. 14 at North Platte Invitational
Sept. 19 at Torrington, Wyo. (Dual), 4 p.m.
Sept. 21 at Lexington Quad
Sept. 24 at Cheyenne East (Dual)
Oct. 1 Scottsbluff Triangular vs. Gering & Alliance, 4 p.m.
Oct. 5 GNAC Tournament at Norfolk
Oct. 8 vs. McCook (Dual), 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 17-18 Class B State Tournament at Lincoln


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