Braves tennis is raw but talented

GLADSTONE – Newly hired Gladstone Braves interim tennis coach Dan Williams hasn’t had long to evaluate his team, but he likes what he sees so far, and had an idea of where the strength of the squad lies.

“Our singles lineup is looking pretty solid considering we’ve only been out for three days,” he said.

The Braves had their first meet Wednesday as they hosted Westwood. The Patriots won 4-3 with Gladstone taking three of four singles matches.

The team is thin at 12 players, the minimum number necessary to field a full team and some of the new additions are raw. However the desire is there.

“The new additions are all pretty new at playing tennis, so we’re in a big learning curve right now but excited to be playing. It’s a good opportunity for them,” Williams said.

Leading the eight returnees to the team is senior No. 1 singles player Aaron Parmet. Expected to be one of the top players in the Upper Peninsula, Parmet was named to the Division 1 All-U.P. team in 2012 and finished third in his flight at the U.P. Finals.

Parmet rolled to a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Quinn LeRoy on Wednesday.

“He’s only been on the court for three days, but he’s looking really good. I think he’ll do really well this year, ” Williams said.

At No. 2, Peter Weyers makes the jump after playing at No. 3 doubles last season and John Hammar moves to the No. 3 slot after playing at No. 2 doubles last season. Weyers fell 6-1, 6-3 to Josh Nicholas of Westwood on Wednesday.

“Peter is looking really good and I think he’ll do well in that spot. He’s excited to be playing at No. 2. Him and Aaron have been hitting a lot together and have had some good practice,” Williams said. “John played at doubles last year and said he would be OK with playing singles. I think he’s doing well in that spot and looks like a solid No. 3 for us. He seems to be enjoying it. He wasn’t sure about it at first, but the transition has been good.”

Senior Drew Griebel will take the No. 4 singles slot rounding out an experienced and talented group.

Hammar won 6-1, 6-1 and Griebel earned a 6-2, 6-4 victory on Wednesday.

The doubles lineup is considerably more raw at the back end.

Tyler Wells and Jeremy Kadish will make the leap to the No. 1 slot after playing at No. 4 doubles last season and the No. 2 team will consist of Spencer Pederson and Jake Kujala.

“We’re OK at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. They’re working well together; they’re solid,” said Williams. “It’s when we get into No. 3 and No.4 that we have all new kids that haven’t played a lot of tennis.”

Wells and Kadish fell in a marathon match with multiple extra points. The Westwood duo of Derek Wing and Michael Ostlund came away with a 4-6, 8-6, 11-9 victory.

Juniors Adrian LaVigne and Osten Roberts are slated to take up the No. 3 slot and freshmen Jalen Goc and Tyler Krause from the No. 4 team.

“Adrain is new, has never played tennis before but he has a great attitude. He’s learning as he goes and he’s fun to be around. It’s nice to see someone new who is so excited about playing. Osten, I just met on Monday. He’s also learning the whole sport from scratch. We went over a lot of the basics and he felt a little more comfortable by the end of practice,” Williams said.

“Our two freshmen have never played tennis before. The first time was (Monday) at practice, so we’re throwing them into the mix really quick. They were surprised, but it’s a great opportunity for them to play a varsity match on their second day of tennis.”

Williams feels good heading into the meat of the schedule and said despite recent weather, they were able to hold a few practice sessions over the weekend.

“We’ve had limited time to practice, but we took advantage this weekend and got out on the courts. There were a few puddles on the court Tuesday night but we worked around those.

“Just looking at where we’re at, I think we’ll be alright.”