CEDAR RAPIDS — The freshman class at Xavier High School brought a lot of new athletes to the spring sports teams.
Included in that group are four boys’ tennis players — Declan Coe, Hugh Courter, Brady Horstmann and Trenton Link. They have added youth and talent to the boys’ varsity team.
“My goals this season (included) making it to individual state for singles and playing in team state,” Horstmann said before the district tournament. “I also want to improve my overall game.”
Mission accomplished, although he did it in doubles with Courter.
Their collective goal is to win state as a team — and that goal remains alive. The Saints will be in Waterloo on Saturday for team substate semifinals and, if they win, finals.
With the different dynamic of younger players this year, a large concern was how the team would adjust. With the help of the coaches, Jim Potts and Chuck Lampe, the transition was easier.
“My coaches always push me and encourage me to be my best,” Link said.
The coaches keep the players on task and focused, but still incorporate fun activities during practices.
“They help me by staying positive and keeping the sport fun,” Courter said. “They both make it really enjoyable to be on the team.”
The older players on the team have been role models for the freshmen, and some have really bonded.
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“I get along well with the upperclassmen,” Horstmann said. “They are always trying to make you a better player by challenging you to do your best.”
Specifically, junior Wesley Johnson has been a leader for the Saints and encourages the underclassmen any chance he gets. Johnson also has qualified for the Class 1A state meet in doubles with sophomore Matthew Schmit.
“Wes is my mentor,” Courter said. “I owe everything to Wes.”