Boys’ tennis team opens season

Sam VerLee, Reporter

Looking forward to the 2021 boys’ tennis season, the team is sure to cause a racket. With new head coach Travis Taflinger, this season will be sure to draw some attention as this former Wildkat tennis player carries on his legacy after playing under coach Charlie Hall in the 1990s.

“I have so many great memories being a Wildkat tennis player in the late 90’s under Coach Charlie Hall,” Taflinger said. “Coach Flanary did an amazing job with the program and I’m excited to carry on the tradition.”

The Wildkats are currently at a 2-2 record on the season. The team lost their first match of the season to a strong Plymouth team. The pulled out a 4-0 win against Alexandria for their first win of the season. The Kats battled conference foe McCutcheon on Monday, coming out with a 3-2 win. 

Taflinger’s goals for the season go deeper than just winning matches. 

“Our goals this year are to love others more than ourselves and always give a perfect effort. Both of those are completely under our control. So far, the team has been great in embracing these values,” Taflinger said. “Winning is fun and I coach them hard, but my goals are to model integrity, honesty, love, and character. It’s great if they become good tennis players and I think they will, but five years from now I hope they are strong men who are faithful to their families, work hard and love and serve their community.” 

From former player to coach, Taflinger has seen many changes over the years.

“The balanced calendar has really affected the Kokomo tennis team. We used to start school around Aug 20th, which meant we would have two-three weeks of two a day practices. Now we start playing tennis on the first day of school. I miss the team-bonding, conditioning and skill development that took place during those three full weeks of tennis,” he said. 

Taflinger is looking forward to the process of building the team and moving forward, he is hoping to see the program grow.

“Next year, we need to embrace the off-season and really take advantage of hitting more in the summer. This team my first year has been tremendous to work with and I’m so proud of the way they carry themselves on and off the court,” he said. “We have some middle school boys who really enjoy tennis and I think our program will continue to grow.” 

Senior Lucas Cummings agrees with his coach.

“I hope the program has more players next season,” he said. “It’s weird to think how I won’t be coming back, but I’m sure that the team will go far.”

The Kats travel to Rossville on Monday.