MANKATO — The good news for the Mankato West boys tennis team is that head coach Adam Doll has 67 student athletes out this year in grades 7-12. That’s the highest number he’s ever had and speaks well for the future of the program.
The not quite so good news is that the Scarlets have graduated a lot of talent and experience from the top of their lineup — including longtime No. 1 singles player Bill Leitch — and have some rebuilding to do.
“It’s encouraging to have all these kids out,” Doll said. “We’ll have a varsity team, a JV, two C-squads and a junior high team. My job is to see where everybody fits.”
Senior tri-captain Miki Mir played No. 1 doubles last season and expects to do so again this year. The sixth-year player for West participated in the local summer junior tennis program and is itching to start the season.
“My partner from last year (Calvin Miller) has moved up to singles so I’ll have a new one this year,” Mir said. “My goal is to develop chemistry with my new partner as quickly as possible and just keep improving.”
Mir has been playing doubles in the West program for a few years now and has grown to truly enjoy it.
“There is a lot of strategy involved in doubles and that’s what I like,” he said. “When you’re on the same page as your partner and you’re working well together it’s a very satisfying feeling.”
Miller, another senior tri-captain, is looking forward to making the transition from doubles to singles. He also played a lot of summer tennis and knows singles requires a different mindset.
“There’s nobody else on the court to back you up when you play singles,” Miller said. “It’s just you. Whether you win or lose the point it’s on you.”