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Tennis team’s early wins serve as motivation for players

Connor+Harkins%2C+Simon+Carandang%2C+and+Kyle+Nguyen+pose+for+a+photo+after+their+big+tournament+sweep.
Connor Harkins, Simon Carandang, and Kyle Nguyen pose for a photo after their big tournament sweep.

Connor Harkins, Simon Carandang, and Kyle Nguyen pose for a photo after their big tournament sweep.

Ashley Gahan

Ashley Gahan

Connor Harkins, Simon Carandang, and Kyle Nguyen pose for a photo after their big tournament sweep.

Larry Durden, Staff Writer

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The Akins Varsity Tennis team is in its second year of success as new players with experience have joined the team.

For the second year in Akins history, the varsity tennis has been very successful.

Coaches Derek Hamm and Ashley Gahan, have guided the new and returning players  to success. However, Hamm said that the team’s ability to win is based on the players’ own strong work ethic and desire for self improvement.

“Akins has been doing better this year as a team than last year,” Hamm said. “We received a great group of freshmen who have really upped the level of play for the whole team. There’s a different atmosphere around the entire team. There are noticeable improvements that have been going on, and that is not only shown in our record and tournament wins, but they way we look as a group.”

Junior Simon Carandang said he see a difference in the team’s work ethic.

“We come to practice ready to work hard, and that’s a big difference from last year,” Carandang said.

Hamm has pushed the team harder this year because he wants his doubles teams to show more aggression. Although he knows that it’s not easy, he still believes in his players and saying that it will help them in the long run.

“One thing that I have been pushing hard this year is making sure our doubles teams become aggressive at the net,” he said. “It’s not an easy skill to learn, but I tell them that even if it doesn’t pay off today, or maybe even tomorrow. It will eventually make Akins a much stronger team in the long run.”

Freshman Connor Harkins said he is impressed with how well the team is doing this year.

“So far we’re doing great as a team, our practices are really paying off,” he said. “We’re going hard in our tournaments and practices and I think we can take it all the way this year.”

Coach Hamm said the team’s early success has motivated them to be even more successful.

“The one thing that is helping our team stay motivated is our new successes this year that have alluded us in previous years,” he said.

“We are simply winning more than we used to, which is a great motivator in itself.”

Due to Coach Gahan being on maternity leave, Hamm took her position. This year, I feel a little more experienced, and having Coach Gahan with us all year has established a sense of direction and commitment throughout the whole team. One thing a team needs if they are going to win is stability, and that’s something that feels much more present this season.”

“We don’t have to be told to come out there, we want to get better,” Harkins said.

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