New tennis coach Justin Arnold officially took over the program on Feb. 27, when spring sports began.
“I’ve been around the game of tennis a long time and have been fortunate to help out with several teams, but I’m at a point now that I can devote more time to coaching tennis, and I’m really grateful I get to start here at Webster,” Coach Arnold said via email.
This transition means some changes are inevitable, but that doesn’t mean that it will change how the seniors view their final year.
“I am very sad to see (Coach Terry) Verstraete go as I had built a strong relationship with him over the previous three years. However, I am very excited about this era of WG tennis. Our new coach has many amazing qualifications and will hopefully lead us through a very successful year. He has come into the season with lots of determination and energy which will hopefully rub off on everyone on the team,” senior Silas Garrett said via email.
Change often puts pressure on the oldest members of the team, but according to senior Henry Testroete they are willing to help out.
“Us as seniors have to inspire the younger guys to give their best effort by giving our best effort. We really just have to lead by example, and that is consistent no matter the coach. We also have to step up and help out our coach since being a first year coach is never easy,” Testroete said via email.
However, the team will still be as strong as ever, according to Garret.
“We have a very strong team this year with lots of strong upperclassmen, so hopefully, we can have a strong record,” Garrett said via email.
Senior Dimion Butcher agreed.
“I’m looking forward to our matches this season. I know that we are much better than last year already. I think this will be the best season that we’ve had these past few years,” Butcher said via email.
“As a senior, my main focus is to be a role model for all the younger players and make sure everyone is an important part of the team. Although tennis is a largely individual sport, there is also a very big team aspect. It is very helpful when you have a supportive community cheering you on and hoping for your success,” Garrett added via email.
Arnold had one last thought via email, “I’m just excited to watch these guys compete. They’ve been working incredibly hard in preseason workouts, and in some pretty tough conditions, and so I’m really looking forward to watching that hard work pay off as we get into the competitive part of our season.”
This will be Owen Crews’ first year on ECHO staff, but he made several contributions while taking journalism class his sophomore year.