BY NATHALIE BOLDUC —
The girls tennis team has gotten off to a fresh start this year with a new head coach, Richard Vincent, who replaced Allie Armstrong and Thomas Sanner. “With a new coach, there will be a period of adjustment … with the students and the coach,” said LeVar Ridgeway, athletic director. In addition, Amy Richmond will step in as assistant coach.
Although the season only started August 12, feedback from players is already positive. “He’s really funny, [and] really nice,” said Tricia Nelson, senior.
“[Vincent] really … lives and breathes tennis … so to have someone like that on board who really loves the game and to spread that love to the student athletes will be a benefit for the district,” Ridgeway said.
Throughout his life, Vincent has participated in javelin, football and track, and began playing tennis in 1978.
“I thought [tennis] would be an easy game to pick up, but thirty years later I’m still at it,” Vincent said. He is currently ranked number one in his age group in the state, and number four in the Midwest. In addition to his experience, Vincent has many new ideas that he would like to bring to the team.
“I’m trying to introduce the aggressive style,” Vincent said, “I want people to say ‘Those [darn] Shorewood girls are always hanging over the net.” Despite his assertive approach to the game, Vincent directs practice quite differently.
“I bring a little humor and lightness to the courts,” Vincent said.
So far this season, the team has been working on basic skills and sport specific drills. Their schedules are also packed with matches, which get the players into good shape. The team hasn’t yet divided into JV and varsity, and therefore all the players have been working together.
“Practice is the time for trying new things and stretching your limits,” Vincent said. He wants to get the players thinking long term.
“We may not do as well at the beginning of the year … [but] we’re going to state; we’re going to be a dynasty,” Vincent said. This optimistic mentality has players entering the season with confidence.
“I think the coach has really good plans for us; he’s going to turn us into champions,” Nelson said.