Ranger tennis to open Friday

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Junior Brooke Haug is back for Forest Park this year after being the team's No. 1 singles player two years ago. She made the All-Pocket Athletic Conference Team. 

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

FERDINAND - Forest Park is set to begin it tennis season on Friday against Loogootee, but the weather has complicated things for the Rangers.

They practiced for a little bit on Thursday before the rain came down and forced them off the court. Coach Amie Weyer told the Herald Thursday morning that the Rangers have only played one round of challenge matches so far - still not being sure of things compared to a March 11 phone interview.

"Last year, we didn't even get to see official practice, so I have no idea who is going to be where and what not in the lineup yet," Weyer said in her phone conversation.

Despite this, however, the Rangers do have some key pieces coming back from two years ago. Junior Brooke Haug made it onto the All-Pocket Athletic Conference squad her freshman year as the No. 1 in singles competition, and they also have seniors Molly Lusk and Kaylee Uebelhor back. Those two earned an honorable mention as a doubles tandem. Juniors Emma Grundhoefer and Payton Dilger are also back, and they formed Forest Park's No. 2 doubles team in 2019.

Weyer sees Haug playing a prominent role again this year, but the Rangers will have some other singles spots to fill. Haylie Marks was at the No. 2 singles spot in 2019, and Leah Wilmes was the team's No. 3 singles player, but both have since graduated.

Looking at who played where two years ago isn't going to shape Weyer's perception too much about her team's lineup heading into the season. She hadn't met all of her players at the time of her March 11 interview, and has been in the process of trying to get to know them.

The COVID-19 pandemic already moved Weyer's coaching debut of her alma mater back a year, and the 2014 Forest Park graduate said the Rangers tried to get some open tennis in during the summer, but COVID restrictions made that complicated.

Still, Weyer is excited to be back on the tennis and show her players what Forest Park tennis is and has to offer in 2021. It was tough for her that she didn't get to know her players and teach the fundamentals of the game to them.

Things have changed since the time Weyer played in the program. For example, the PAC has expanded from nine teams to 13, and Forest Park went 4-4 in conference play two years ago, and 6-9 overall in the regular season. The Rangers finished in sixth place out of nine PAC teams.

"They obviously have all changed, and we have changed," Weyer said. "I just hope that we finish at least .500 and above out of our whole schedule, and just working together as a team and doing what is best as a team."




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