The Cal Poly men’s tennis team started off the year with high expectations and a strenuous training routine.
“This year is probably the best team we’ve had here,” sophomore Aaron Elbert said. “We even talk about it off the court – how good we are as a team.”
Part of the improvement is due to summer training, coach Trevor Kronemann said.
“The guys have taken a different approach to their summer responsibilities and I feel that it will pay off in the long run,” he said. “We are already ahead of where we should be and their commitment should show very early on in the fall.”
In preparation for dual matches in January, fall quarter will consist of five tournaments, which are intended to get players used to competing, Kronemann said.
On top of the two and a half hours of on-court training every day, the players work in the weight room three days a week, take a spin class two times a week and see a psychologist two times a quarter to help with mental preparation.
“This is going to be the year that were going to take (the training) to the next level,” Elbert said.
Because of the strenuous training and their potential as a team, expectations for this year are high.
“The main goal has been to improve every year and I feel confident that we have done that on many levels,” Kronemann said. “The other goal that we all look to is the Big West Championships, which is our only way into the NCAA tournament at the end of the year.”
Kyle Roybal, a player coming from the nationally ranked U.S. Military Academy team, will provide new energy for the team, Elbert said.
“This year is the year,” he said. “It really is.”
As school began, the women’s tennis team started its rigorous training schedule in preparation for competing in January.
“In the fall we’re really in a building process,” coach Hugh Bream said. “We’re focusing on helping everybody get stronger and fitter and make changes in their game.”
Training includes weight room work, strength building, conditioning, sprint work and core strength workouts.
Bream said that, along with doubles play, individual work with the players is very important, because “it’s been a big strength for us in the last four years.”
“Training is a lot harder this year,” senior Sheila Lewis said. “Our coaches know that we could all improve in the fitness aspect so we are working our butts off with extra running off the court.”
With strong returning players, energetic new players and a steady training schedule, the team has set high goals for the year.
“For this season I want our team to become a top 40 ranked school and to win the Big West Championship so we can play in the NCAA tournament,” junior Carol Erickson said. “I think these two goals are very obtainable for the team.”
The team already sent five players to the Fresno State Bulldog Classic last weekend including Samantha Waller, Carol Erickson, Maria Malec, Sheila Lewis and Shannon Brady. Waller placed 7th and Erickson took 11th.
Waller has high hopes for this year’s team.
“I think we’re a young team but were also highly motivated,” she said. “Last year we did what we could but were looking to surpass what we accomplished this year.”
Fall competing continues this weekend as both Waller and Danon Beatty will play in the All-American invitational at UCLA.