Olympus tennis team mixing fun and competition on the court
Aug 29, 2018 10:47AM
● By Jana Klopsch
The Olympus girls tennis team celebrated a state title last season by scoring six more points than the second-place team. (Photo courtesy of Angela Jewell.)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
Olympus girls tennis head coach Jenny Watts had a memorable maiden voyage last season. Watts took over the Titans’ program from her father, Kevin Watts, and promptly guided the team to a Class 5A state championship.
There’s no reason to think the Titans can’t contend for another title. They return plenty of talent from last year’s squad, including first singles competitor Emma Jewel, who lost in the finals after going 14-0 during the regular season. The senior won her first three tournament matches in straight sets a year ago before falling in the championship round.
Senior Kate Longson also returns at No. 3 singles. She also lost in the finals after going 14-0 in the regular season. Meanwhile, Anzle Stohl and Megan Jewell marched to the final last season as well. The sophomore tandem could be a force this season. Watts said she plans to move Stohl to third singles this season. Senior Abby Harris played second doubles last season where she and her partner, Ava Stanger, fell in the semifinals. Stanger graduated, but Harris is back to contribute to the program.
“This group looks great,” she said. “We have several returners from last year.”
Watts’ philosophy isn’t complicated, but it’s a little different from what other coaches may employ. She isn’t concerned about setting goals for wins and losses, advancing in tournaments or being fiercely competitive. She simply wants the girls to have a good experience.
“I want the girls to have fun, build friendships and have fun with the other girls,” she said. “I want them to be good sports. I’m not competitive.”
Despite the success in her inaugural season, Watts deflects the praise to her players. She’s humble and is grateful to have dedicated players who enjoy the game and who take responsibility for their play on the court and their actions off it.
“The girls do all the work on their own. I take no credit,” she said. “The girls work super hard.”
Watts ordinarily doesn’t cut players from the team, but she had to this year because of an overwhelming interest in the sport at the school. The program has the depth and talent all coaches love to work with.
Olympus will play in some early season tournaments as well as against region competition. The state tournament will once again be held at Liberty Park. The race for the 5A crown begins Oct. 4 and continues on day two on Oct. 6.