After securing their first state championship since 2004, Coach Tony Duncan said in May that Elkin High School tennis was “back on the map.”
The Buckin’ Elks are primed for another run at a state championship. They’ll get an idea of where they stand soon when they face Bishop McGuinness (March 31) and Mount Airy (April 7). Both matches are in Elkin. “Those are two state-championship calibre teams,” Duncan said Wednesday.
Bishop McGuinness had to get past Elkin in 2012 to win the state title. Last year, Elkin had to get through Bishop McGuinness to win their state title.
“Up to this point,” Duncan said, “considering the weather, we’re a lot further ahead than I thought we would be. But you don’t want to peak too early.
“It’s nice for the kids to look at it as a work in progress. The ultimate goal is to win the state championship.”
Duncan said he doesn’t think this team is quite where the 2013 team was at this point of the season. “I don’t feel like we’re as strong,” he said. “We’re still working with the kids at the lower part of our lineup. They’re not match ready.”
Duncan has a “good mixture of kids.” There is one senior, four juniors, two sophomores and five freshmen. “We’ve been very fortunate in that respect,” Duncan said. “I attribute that to the community people.
“They do a real good job taking these kids when they are young. We just have to work on the mental part of it when they get here. They already know the technical part.”
Elkin tennis at a glance
Coach: Tony Duncan
Conference: Mountain Valley Athletic
Last Year’s Record: 18-0, state champions
Returnees: Ryan Schell, No. 1, Jr.; David Bullin, No. 2, Sr.; Chad Vestal, No. 3, Jr.; Jacob Lyon, No. 4, Jr.; Reed Turner, No. 6, So.; Ricki Rendon, So.
Newcomers: Matthew Schumak, No. 5, Jr.; Jarrett Peterson, Fr.; Daniel Soos, Fr.; Asher McRitchie, Fr.; Jacob Belia, Fr.; Isaac Powell, Fr.
Jim Fuller may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @elkinareasports.