Tennis: Progress is there, even if it's not always obviousJack Olwell knows the scores don’t suggest it, but the Farmington High School tennis coach believes he has a better team right now than he had this time a year ago. There’s only one senior on the team, and Olwell has several talented young players who in some cases are relatively new to the sport. He sees them improving, even if that improvement hasn’t resulted in many wins.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
Jack Olwell knows the scores don’t suggest it, but the Farmington High School tennis coach believes he has a better team right now than he had this time a year ago. There’s only one senior on the team, and Olwell has several talented young players who in some cases are relatively new to the sport. He sees them improving, even if that improvement hasn’t resulted in many wins.
“We have added some good athletes who, despite having to pay the necessary dues that come with taking up a new, unfamiliar sport, have been enjoying the game,” Olwell said this week. “If you judge our progress using only victories as our yardstick, then our improvement has been slight. But if you look at our scores and where we have gained ground on our opponents, it is clear we are coming on.”
The Tigers didn’t get any wins to show for their improvement in a busy week last week. They lost matches to Chaska, Red Wing and New Prague, and the best word Olwell could find to describe the matches was “similar.”
The match against Chaska May 10 was the closest. Farmington lost, 5-2, with wins from Ben Cline (6-1, 6-0) at first singles and Blake Olmscheid (6-4, 6-3) at second. Singles. The Tigers lost a third set tiebreaker at third singles and had a good first set at second doubles.
“We gave ourselves a chance,” Olwell said.
There was less of a chance Friday against a Red Wing team that has spent the past couple of years atop the Missota Conference. The Tigers lost that match, 7-0.
Cline made things interesting at first singles, losing the first set 5-7 against an opponent who hasn’t lost a set all year.
“This was his closest call,” Olwell said.
Cline lost 0-6 in the second set.
At fourth singles, Austin Tremmell lost his first set 0-6 before coming back to make things close with a 5-7 second set.
“Austin has been a pleasant surprise at No. 4,” Olwell said.
Against New Prague on Monday, Farmington got a 6-3, 7-5 win from ninth grader Ivan Rodriguez at third singles but not a lot else in a 6-1 loss. It was a disappointing match for Olwell, who thought there was an opportunity to get a win.
“Four of the matches I thought would go our way, but only one eventually did,” Olwell said. “We gave our best effort, but did not come close to our best tennis.”
Rain delays early in the season have forced the Tigers to play most of this season’s matches in a two-week span. That’s a challenge for a team with some inexperienced players. Olwell felt lucky he had even one day to practice in between matches last week.
“It’s the most accelerated feeling,” he said.