Olympus girls tennis look to continue domination under new coach
Oct 03, 2017 11:22AM
● By Jana Klopsch
Olympus girls tennis hopes to win its third consecutive state title in October. (Pixabay)
While some might worry about a successful team coming under new management, the Olympus girls tennis team should have nothing to worry about as they look to win their third state title in a row this upcoming fall season.
Jenny Watts, the newly appointed head coach, has a hefty challenge ahead of her, but the shoes she is trying to fill aren’t completely foreign to her. “The previous coach, Kevin Watts, is my father-in-law. He really encouraged me to keep the legacy alive, and I jumped at the opportunity,” Jenny Watts said.
With her daughter on the team, and with her experience of playing tennis for 35 years, Watts has a true commitment to the team. However, as much as she tries to continue her father-in-law’s legacy, certain changes had to be made for her first season. “Kevin ran a no-cut team. After he retired, my hiring was contingent on being willing to cut, which we did for the first year here,” Watts said.
And as inclusive as the no-cut policy was, the team had about 90 members before the cuts came, reducing the team size to 32, seven more than the recommended team size of 25.
A reduced team size won’t change how dominant the team looks currently. “We are looking really good. Our no. 1 singles player, Emma Jewell, is nationally ranked, and our top three doubles and singles are looking really sharp,” Watts said.
Watt’s relationship with the previous coach and having her daughter on the team are not the only familial connections on the team. “There are so many family ties on the team. Emma Jewell’s sister is an incoming freshman, and the no. 1 doubles and no. 2 and no. 3 singles player are all cousins,” Watts said.
For Watts, the pressure to three-peat in non-existent. “It’s actually a pretty easy job because they all work so hard. I’m just organizing matches, while they are the ones leading themselves. I want these girls to become great friends in a great environment. I just feel really fortunate to be taking over such a well-run team from Kevin.”
While the pressure isn’t there, it doesn’t mean they aren’t favorites, either. “We only lost one senior from last year, and we have only lost one match to Lone Peak in preseason. I feel pretty good about how we are looking right now,” Watts said.
As Watts tries to create the ideal environment for the team, the team is having no problem creating one for themselves. Whether the connection is by blood or by dedication, this team has a good environment, a good coach and good talent, and you should expect to see them on the podium come October.