Although its season does not open until this Saturday, the Greencastle boys' tennis team is already thinking about the end of the season. Coming off of a sectional runner-up performance last season, the boys want to take the next step, winning sectional and advancing to regional.
One advantage the Tiger Cubs will have is a varsity squad composed almost entirely of returning players. Having come so close last season, there should be no lack of hunger for more from these players.
Last year's singles corps returns in its entirety. Sam Hirt advanced to regional individually last season. Brennan Burks is a four-year player, just like Hirt. They are also joined by Eric Warren, last year's No. 3 singles player.
On the doubles side, one-half of each of last year's teams returns. Seth Heithaus played No. 1 doubles last year while Logan Grzesiek played at No. 2.
Add to these five Ty Fauvergue, a utility player who split time between varsity and junior varsity last year, and the Tiger Cubs need only one totally new player to fill out the squad.
While Ross emphasized that last year's spots may not translate directly to this year's, the experience should certainly pay off for his squad.
"We have a good group coming back," he said.
Besides their playing ability, Ross praised his players for their work ethic and character.
"The kids we have are good kids and hard workers," he said. "The guys have done a great job in the heat."
The Tiger Cubs open their season on Saturday, Aug. 18 at the Sullivan Tourney.
"We're pretty optimistic we'll have a good year," said Ross.