By Leah Vann STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — At the start of practice, tennis players line up on the base line to serve. The goal is make 10 in a row in a certain spot as a team.
The first player steps up and slams it in, but the second won’t make it, so together, they run a lap around two courts.
Steamboat Springs High School head tennis coach Bill Conway said this is one of two ways they can get their fitness work in. It’s either a tennis drill with running as punishment, or they all go run later.
When senior John Hanaway steps up, a powerful spin serve lands in the corner of service court. The team doesn’t have to run.
“John’s big strength is he comes in well,” Conway said. “He moves forward well, and when his serve is working, it’s a really really tough serve.”
Hanaway pairs with junior Gabe Rabanal as the No. 1 doubles team. And it’s unusually how they are paired — by challenge matches.
“The chemistry has been really good,” Conway said. “It’s hard when you are put together by playing abilities in doubles and not by chemistry, because a team that works together really well and has chemistry usually will beat a talented team.”
Rabanal was in the No. 3 singles spot when senior Ethan Paulus moved up to No. 2 singles, that bumped Rabanal down to No. 1 doubles. This is Hanaway’s third year on No. 1 doubles, and he prefers it because of its team aspect and opportunities to volley.
But the two are a ruthless match for opponents: both are lefties.
“Because we’re both lefties, people don’t like our serves because it spins the other way,” Rabanal said.
That’s if they stay healthy. Hanaway missed the state tournament last year with a broken ankle and Rabanal got ten stitches in his hand last week, so he played with a one-handed backhand against tougher opponents.
Rabanal has been to state twice on the No. 4 and No. 3 doubles teams, skipping the No. 2 spot.
“Now, I want to make it as No.1.” Rabanal said.
Freshman Andy Schuiling is also vying for a state appearance at No. 1 singles. His only loss so far this season is a familiar opponent outside of school, Morgan Schilling, who plays for Regis Jesuit, a 5A school.
Schuiling has yet to lose to a 4A competitor.
“Andy, ability-wise, is toe-to-toe with Morgan,” Conway said. “Even with the loss to Morgan, he found …read more
Via:: Steamboat Today