By Mari Smith
With returning Coach Warner Offord at the helm, the Vicksburg boys tennis team has secured three conference wins. The Bulldogs beat South Haven 8-0 in their regular season-opener. Hosting Plainwell next, the Bulldogs won 7-1, followed by the Wildcats of Three Rivers where the Bulldogs earned another 7-1 win.
The tide turned, however, with matches against Sturgis and South Haven. Sturgis defeated the Bulldogs 7-0 and South Haven handed the Bulldogs a 6-2 loss on their home courts. Wins from the Bulldogs came from number three singles Alvara Ugarte-Diez and number four singles Tyler Tompkins.
The 2014 team members include number one singles player senior Chase Tyre; number two singles senior Kaleb Lewis; number three singles sophomore Alvara Ugarte-Diez; and number four singles junior Tyler Tompkins. Doubles teams include number one seniors Artem Booth and Logal Tassell; number two senior Westin Seifert and junior Daniel Gwin; number three senior Joseph Kilne and sophomore Andras Antal; and number four sophomores Jaymie Gapayao and Matthew McGehee.
The foreign exchange program at Vicksburg High School has once again benefited the tennis team. Antel is an exchange student from Hungary and Ugarte-Diez is from Spain. Ugarte-Diez’s sister, Raquel, also played on the varsity girls tennis team when she was a VHS student during the 2011-2012 school year.
The team has six seniors and with the two exchange students, that means two-thirds of the team will not be returning next year, said Offord. However, he is not concerned because he sees very strong potential in his younger players, including some middle school students who may be future stars of the Vicksburg tennis program.
Eric Flickinger joined Vicksburg this year as the Varsity Assistant Coach and JV Coach.