Richard Davis hasn’t had to hit the halls of Polk County High School looking for tennis players. He won’t have to spend the first few days of practice explaining the basics of the sport to team newcomers.
It’s a tennis season unlike many of late for the veteran Polk County coach.
The Wolverines are scheduled to open the 2016 boys tennis season on Thursday with a scrimmage against T.C. Roberson. They’ll do so with a lineup that feaures five returning starters from last season’s 4-9 squad. Perhaps best of all, the eight-man roster includes just one senior, promising good things for next season as well.
That lone senior, Tyler Oxtoby, will play No. 1 singles this season.
“Tyler Oxtoby is the number one seed and I look for him to have a fabulous season from that spot,” Davis said. “My number two, three, five and six are all back, and I have a great replacement (Rustin Muse) to replace my number four seed who graduated.
“We are currently playing challenge matches to determine positions four, five and six. I feel good about the season and feel like we could possibly compete for the conference championship.”
Sophomores Payton Stott and Henry Monts will see time at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions. The remaining starters will come from the group of juniors Alec Becker, Malik Miller and Muse and sophomores Ryan O’Hearn and Dakota Baker.
Oxtoby and Monts will likely team again in doubles and came within one win last season of qualifying for the 2A West Regional.
“The experience they gained last year will prove to be very valuable in moving forward this year,” Davis said of the squad. “Hopefully, we will have one of the better seasons we have had in a while.”