It is odd to think that tennis season is already here.
Dawson County’s spring 2021 sports season will be kicked off by a Tigers’ tennis team hungry to show what they are made of after only getting to play two matches last season. But just like fall and winter sports, Tigers head tennis coach Logan Allen said that COVID-19 has not stopped affecting the team yet.
“The offseason was a little different because of Covid,” Allen said. “Usually, we would have a few hitting sessions during the summer but we did not have any this past summer. Once school started back though, we were able to get some work in this fall.”
The Lady Tigers will be led by a new head coach this season. Laura Ledbetter, a third grade teacher at Robinson Elementary, will take over the program.
A few veterans stick out as game changers on both the boys and girls teams. Kathryn Menoche has been a staple for the Lady Tigers team since her freshman year. She was First Singles for the short season last year and will most likely return to that role at the start of this season.
For the boys, it seems like Brendan Swafford has been on the team forever and he will likely lead the Tigers’ tennis team once again for his final high school season.
“Brendan Swafford is definitely the leader of the team this year,” Allen said. “He is now a senior and has been a key part of the team since his freshman season.”
To combine with some varsity regulars, a handful of freshmen could make waves for the Tigers as the athletes that take on the role of varsity veteran in the years to come.
“There are a few freshman players that I believe could make an immediate impact this year,” Allen said. “We have a good group of freshman players that will all have a chance to help us this year.”
Region 7-3A has many changes for tennis, as it did with many of the fall and winter sports. White County High School, Gilmer High School in Elijay, Ga. and West Hall High School in Oakwood, Ga. join old region opponents North Hall High School, Lumpkin County High School and Cherokee Bluff High School in the region.
“It's hard to say who will be at the top,” Allen said. “All of them will be tough challenges. Our guys are looking forward to seeing where they stack up. I know the players are ready to show that they are ready to play.”
Allen added that the team’s main goal other than staying healthy this season will be to improve from where they start and to requalify for the GHSA state tournament at the end of the season.
“The team has a great work ethic and really loves to play tennis,” Allen said. “They enjoy competing against each other and they don't mind working hard and practicing. They are all unselfish and enjoy seeing each other do well.”