Boys’ tennis prepares for season with new coach

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Jack Almoro

Junior Joe Molina hits groundstrokes at tennis practice. On rainy or exceptionally cold days, the boys’ tennis team uses the gymnasium to review foundational skills.

Jack Almoro, Staff Writer

The boys’ tennis team’s 2020 season was canceled at the hands of the Covid-19 pandemic. One year later, they are beginning preparations for the new season.
Over the summer, Gary Hibinger was brought in as the new coach of the boys tennis team. Hibinger has experience with a number of the players before after having served as Dempsey Middle School’s tennis coach and as a private instructor.
“I’ll be relying on my extensive background in the sport of tennis…to help guide our team through what will be an interesting season,” Hibinger said.
For the players, the offseason provided many challenges with the closing of training facilities due to Covid-19.
“In the early stages of the virus, we were unable to do anything,” junior Ryder Kardas said. “Around early June, I finally got back out there and have been practicing multiple times a week since.”
As with all sports teams this year, the tennis team has taken several steps to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. Along with social distancing, coaches are also checking in with players mentally in this tough time.
“Another area we need to help players with is mental social health,” Hibinger said. “So many of us have not had regular interaction with each other.”
The players also focus on staying healthy and safe from Covid-19
“I’m making it a priority to stay as safe as I can,” Kardas said. “I want to present Hayes as best as I can.”
The team also had a large number of players graduate last year. With some key players returning and nearly half the team being composed of freshmen, adjustments were made.
This season will see the team in a new division in the OCC-Capital Conference. This puts them against new schools.
“We will play schools we have not faced before,” Hibinger said. “We scheduled a mixture of non-league matches to provide various levels of competition.”
With a new coach and the need for new leaders, the team is working to incorporate players into those leadership roles.
“My goal this season is to be a leader on this team,” junior Joe Molina said. “I want to motivate my teammates to work hard.”
As for goals, both the players and the new head coach aim to represent Hayes at its best.
“To represent Delaware Hayes is an honor that we do not take lightly,” Hibinger said.
With new players stepping into the foray, older players are looking forward to building chemistry with new teammates following the departure of the seniors last year.
“I am most excited for the camaraderie,” Molina said. “I can’t wait to make memories with the guys and win some matches.”