Northwest High School tennis player Brogan Buchler returns a shot during a contest on Monday against Columbia Central High School. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.
By Jeff Steers
Two teams headed in different directions – literally – met on the tennis courts on Monday.
Northwest High School – who will play all matches away this season – traveled to Columbia Central High School – who has yet to play an away match.
The Mounties improved to 7-0 with an 8-0 win over CCHS. The Golden Eagles are 0-4 after competing against four bigger schools to start the season.
Both teams have improved numbers and youth on their side.
Northwest has 25 players on the team while CCHS has doubled its size in the last couple of weeks with 14 players.
“Just over four years ago Northwest didn’t have a team,” Coach Ron Woodruff said. “We started with some freshmen and sophomores … it was pretty ugly.”
But the Mounties have improved and suddenly they are experienced, according to Woodruff.
“Now, our student-athletes are athletic and committed to the sport,” Woodruff said.
The only thing against the Mounties is the COVID-19 pandemic. Work was scheduled to improve the tennis courts at NWHS. That was postponed as the Mounties have only two of six court “playable” right now.
They will be on the road all season.
But Woodruff is confident the Mounties can compete in the tough Interstate-8 Conference.
“I think we can compete against every school in the conference,” Woodruff said. “I think we will be in the upper tier of the conference.”
CCHS Coach Dana Daniels is happy school started. She played most of her early matches with only seven players – as 12 are needed to complete a full squad.
“When school started, we had two new players come out and three the next day,” Daniels said. “Tennis is a social thing you can play with your friends.
“It was nice that all of our players are getting a chance to play tonight.”
Northwest only lost four games in sweeping the singles’ matches against the Golden Eagles. Stephen Juracka earned 6-1 and 6-2 win over Nikolai Panergo of CCHS at No. 1 singles.
Both Elijah Haldane and Braydon Metcalf earned 6-0 and 6-0 win at Nos. 2 and 3 singles respectively for NWHS.
Brogan Buchler won 6-0 and 6-1 at No. 4 singles for Northwest.
The Mounties swept the No. 1 doubles with brothers Landon Schroeder and Karson Schroeder; Mason Schroeder and Alex Thrun won 6-0 and 6-2 at No. 2 doubles for Northwest; Nolan Hughey and Austin McCarron won 6-0 and 6-1 at No. 3 doubles for the Mounties; and freshman Douglas Putnam and Garrett Waldron won by the same score at No. 4 doubles for NWHS
Northwest will travel to Marshall on Wednesday for an I-8 contest. CCHS will be on the road for the first time on Sept. 10, facing Adrian High School at Adrian College.
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