Why experience matters

Last year, the Ames High Boys tennis team didn’t know what to expect. The team featured then-freshman Chris Xin as the #1 singles player and the varsity team didn’t have much experience. This year, returning from last year’s varsity team includes 8 players with varsity experience: seniors Tony Chung, Ryan Larson, Chris Elsenbast, Pasha Beresnev and Jay Lee, juniors Miles Greenwald and Max Tsai, and sophomore Chris Xin. Chung and Greenwald competed in the state tournament on doubles and Xin on singles. “It’s a little different not playing as a freshman,” Xin said. “It’s not as overwhelming, and I feel more comfortable competing at this level.” Some of the new additions to the Ames High varsity team include seniors Adam Tyler and Daniel Park, sophomore Kavin Kanthasamy, and freshmen Cliff Chang, Nirvan Tyagi, Sam Frishman, and Brandon Friederich. “We have a lot of players playing at the varsity level who take clinics from Ryan Roeth and Chris Williams at the Racquet Center,” Chung said. “Ryan and Chris have done a great job making us better tennis players.” The Ames High Boys tennis team beat Southeast Polk 10-1 in their first meet of the year and Des Moines Lincoln 9-2 in the second meet. Coach Derick Tallman played mostly seniors on varsity to give those who wouldn’t get varsity time some experience and let them have some fun. “It was nice getting to play varsity and we definitely had fun doing it,” senior Shawn Bergeson said, who won his doubles match with partner Lucas Bauer 6-0, 6-1. “I doubt I’d get to play varsity again, but it was a good experience.” So far, 5 of the meets have been postponed, but the weather hasn’t stopped the boys from practicing. They have been to the Racquet Center for indoor practice as well as strategizing and conditioning. “We’re pretty hardcore,” Elsenbast said. “We had couple outdoor practices… AND IT WAS RAINING!” With the weather not looking to stop the team from pursuing its goal to be one of the top teams in the state, players hope to rebound from disappointing losses from last year. “The state tournament last year was a little disappointing because Miles and I lost earlier than we hoped, but we know the best players in the state and the level that we are going against, knowing the returning players from last year,” Chung said. “We have a very solid and deep varsity team this year; I think we will do very well in team state.” With many returning varsity team members as well as solid additions, the Ames High Boys tennis team looks on for a great season.