With all the new challenges that this year has brought, it’s nice to know that some things never change. This includes the energy and talent showcased by our very own Central tennis teams. The girls team has a record of 12-2, only losing to the undefeated Bedford High School. Coincidentally, a random drawing of the teams has led to both the girls and boys teams being set to play Bedford in their first playoff game. “Bedford has won the last two state championships, but I’m confident that we have a shot at beating them to continue in the playoffs,” explains junior Natalie Friedland. In this year of changes and new starts, the girls team also welcomed a new head coach, Karen LeClerc. She says, “It has been an amazing season coaching this team. I feel very lucky to be the coach and I was fortunate enough to have 3 seniors to lead the team and several new players who contributed as well. I know this season isn’t over, but I am already looking forward to next year!” The captains of the girls team are seniors Christina Gatzoulis and Erin Flurey. Christina explains, “This season has been so fun because everyone gets along so well. All of the new girls that joined the team fit in perfectly and have played great. I’m excited to hear how the girls do next year!”
In contrast to the new change for the girls, the boys team has been led by Coach Telge for the 45th year in a row. When asked what keeps him coming back to coach tennis, Coach said, “I love what I do, if I didn’t, that’d be awful stupid. I love teaching kids, I love the game, and I love Central.” With such an extensive history coaching tennis, it is surprising to hear that he did not play the sport growing up. While at Bishop Bradley, he played basketball, football, and baseball, even going into the professional leagues. It wasn’t until he left the big leagues that he gained his appreciation for tennis. The fact that tennis is a sport that someone can continue playing for the rest of their lives is what drew him in.
Even after 45 years coaching, new players are still keeping him on his toes. For the Central boys tennis team, they are currently in what the tennis pros would call a “reconstruction phase.” The year started off with just three people signing up for the team, but word spread quickly of the fun sport and welcoming team atmosphere, attracting many new recruits who had never played tennis before. Coach explained that this year there was a lot less coaching and a lot more teaching, but building that strong foundation is what is going to bring great success to the boys Central tennis team in the future. That future is already looking bright, as the new players have improved greatly throughout their first season.
With COVID-19 came sports restrictions, thankfully, they were not too severe for the tennis teams. “It was a little annoying having to wear masks on the court, but tennis is a pretty socially-distant outdoor sport so the season honestly didn’t feel too different than in past years,” explains senior captain Jonas Weissberg. Both teams are grateful to be able to continue their season despite the circumstances as sadly the season had to be cancelled last year. We wish both teams the best of luck.