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Sun, July 21

High school tennis tryouts begin this week

A whole lot of kids coming out and only a few good courts. That's the way tryouts are starting off the 2006 tennis season for both Prescott and Bradshaw Mountain High Schools.

Bradshaw boys and girls teams, coached by Dave Humphrey and Scott Terry, respectively, will have in the neighborhood of 16-18 boys and reportedly 40 girls vying for about 12-14 spots for varsity and junior varsity teams.

Try to imagine running practices for 56 kids on just four regular courts and two basketball/tennis courts? The coaches will have their work cut out for themselves, or the kids will be standing around more than hitting balls.

Prescott High School even has it harder than Bradshaw this year, with boys coach Charles Mentken and new girls coach Kellie Shanahorn having to do their practices off campus at Yavapai College.

They believe they will have 16 or so boys trying out and 25 or more girls. The college is doing its best to open up four to sometimes six courts for their practices, and when the season begins all six courts on Tuesdays and Thursdays for their match play.

I heard that Bradshaw, which had a no-cut policy with the late Joe Morales, feel they have no choice but to cut this year. Prescott High School does the same.

Last year the PHS' girls tennis team practiced and played most of their matches at the Prescott Racquet Club because the courts at the high school were so bad, and are even worse this year.

The Prescott Unified School District is currently trying to remedy this problem and hopefully will have it resolved before the 2007 tennis season.

In the meantime Bradshaw had been working on converting two basketball courts into two more tennis courts, which would give them a total of six. Girls coach Joe Morales was working on this when he died unexpectedly this past spring. Since then no one has taken the lead to finish what he started.

Prescott Valley Parks and Recreation doesn't have any courts of its own courts and currently use Bradshaw's courts for their spring, summer and fall tennis programs.

The six Yavapai College courts will be used to the max with many after-work tennis players being displaced with college classes on Mondays and Wednesdays and PHS practicing and playing matches on Monday through Friday until the end of April.

It would be nice for both schools to take care of the courts they have. That means paying more attention to facilities, listening to coaches, and budgeting for and dealing with capital improvements.

If this many kids are out for the tennis teams they must have an interest. Let's all do our part ... and NOW!

(Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 30 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 445-1331 or choward4541@peoplepc.com)

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