Briefly inhibited by injuries and inclement weather, the tennis team forges ahead.
The John Brown University teams went through ups and downs this season with injuries, losses and cancelled and rescheduled matches. While far from perfect, the tennis teams remain positive about the season.
Multiple injuries on both the women’s and men’s team impacted the season. There are currently three injured players.
Ross Miner, a sophomore on the men’s team, will return to practice in a couple of weeks but unfortunately will not be able to play the rest of the season due to a torn labrum, a muscle in the shoulder that is crucial to the motion of swinging a racket. These injuries inhibited the team.
Other injured players include Axel Betancourt who suffered from a bone bruise and Eva Berry who suffered from an ankle injury.
“This season hasn’t brought any new struggles for me,” Grace Cusick, junior tennis player, said. “Other than struggling with certain parts of my game during different points in the season, it has been a pretty strong season.”
Catlin King, junior tennis player said, “The season is going really well. We are having a lot of fun at our matches and are preforming pretty well.”
Nathan Kuykendall, a sophomore tennis player, said “the season has been going well. There have been a handful of matches that we were close to winning, and should have won, but couldn’t close on. However, we have fought hard against a number of nationally ranked NAIA Division I & NCAA Division II teams. They have pushed us to be better players.”
Kuykendall said the main thing he improved this season was “closing out” matches. Playing higher-ranking teams helped him to work on finishing matches with a win.
Cusick agreed with Kuykendall.
“We have played a lot of difficult teams so our record shows that we are not doing very well,” Cusick said. “We have really played well against all of these teams who are good, so I am not upset about that.”
While playing higher-ranking teams has helped JBU improve, the team missed further opportunities to perfect their skills because of weather complications.
“Our main struggle this season has been due to cancelled matches because of the rain,” King said. “Several are not going to be rescheduled, so we missed some good opportunities to bump up our stats.”
The weather was not the only odd occurrence for the tennis team this season. For the first time in JBU history, an athlete is playing on both the men’s soccer and men’s tennis teams.
Axel Betancourt, an international business major from Houston, Texas, crossed over from the soccer team and has already played a couple of tennis matches with the tennis team. He plays midfield on the soccer team and plays singles on the tennis team.
The men’s tennis team has two more season matches scheduled for April 17 and April 20 in Oklahoma before regionals on April 28 and April 29. The women’s team will also play at regionals April 28 and April 29.