Kodiak Daily Mirror - Tennis team practices on new surface
  
Tennis team practices on new surface
by Derek Clarkston
Aug 08, 2014 | 38 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A Kodiak High School tennis player hits a ball at Wednesday’s practice at Baranof Park. (Derek Clarkston photo)
A Kodiak High School tennis player hits a ball at Wednesday’s practice at Baranof Park. (Derek Clarkston photo)
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Kodiak High School tennis coach Steve Johnston teaches his players at Wednesday’s practice at Baranof Park.  (Derek Clarkston photo)
Kodiak High School tennis coach Steve Johnston teaches his players at Wednesday’s practice at Baranof Park. (Derek Clarkston photo)
slideshow
Kodiak High School tennis players play on the resurfaced court at Baranof Park Wednesday afternoon. (Derek Clarkston photo)
Kodiak High School tennis players play on the resurfaced court at Baranof Park Wednesday afternoon. (Derek Clarkston photo)
slideshow
Kodiak High School’s tennis team started practice this week with a sparkling new surface to play on.

One of the two courts at Baranof Park was recently resurfaced and painted as part of the Baranof Park Improvement Project, a multimillion-dollar project that also included a new track and artificial turf on the football and baseball fields

Due to time constraints, the second court will be resurfaced next summer.

“We were pulled off doing that project numerous times this summer,” said Corey Gronn, City of Kodiak Parks and Recreation coordinator.

Close to 25 high school tennis players were enjoying the court during Wednesday’s practice — the team’s third official practice of the 2014 season.

“It looks great,” fourth-year coach Steve Johnston said. “We will have to see how it stands up to rain, but as far as I can tell, it seems like they did an excellent job.”

Johnston said the court still plays the same as it did before the resurfacing, but liked the freshly painted white lines. He also said the court has a new net that replaced the old one.

The tennis team heads into the season having graduated a bulk of its players from last year.

“It is a rebuilding year,” Johnston said.

Even in a rebuilding year, Kodiak has already claimed its eighth consecutive Region III title, which is becoming a running joke with the team.

“It is,” Johnston laughed.

Kodiak is the only school in Region III that has a tennis team, which gives the Bears the title by default. Kodiak also receives eight berths into the state tournament in October.

Twenty-five players turned up for Kodiak’s first practice on Monday.

“It is a good number. Hopefully, we will get some more,” Johnston said. “If you are rebuilding, 25 is a good number.”

Out of the 25, Johnston said only 10 players are returning from last season. With so few returners, Johnston is focusing on the fundamentals at practice.

“We are getting the beginners started with the proper strokes,” he said. “For the guys coming back, I’m trying to get them to do more advanced drills.”

The team will lean on co-captains Joyce Bachini and Natalia Fernandez. Bachini played at the state tournament last year, while Fernandez was an alternate.

“We want to position ourselves to do some real damage at state in three to four years,” Johnston said. “I want to give these guys a good foundation, so they will stay interested in tennis.”

Right now, Kodiak only has two trips planned — one to Homer and the other to the state tournament in Anchorage. The team does not have any home meets.

The team meets Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Johnston encourages students to stop by.

Contact Derek Clarkston at sports@kodiakdailymirror.com.
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