Tonawanda Warriors gunning for states this season
BY: Dave Ricci, Sports Reporter | April 24, 2014
The Warriors are back and they have one goal in mind: states.
The Tonawanda Warriors tennis program is finally back after a two-season hiatus and the 2014 edition has already set lofty goals.
“First day of practice they said we’re going to states,” said coach Ashley Feyler. “They’re excited. They’re ready to play.”
Leading the way for the Warriors will be seniors Jordan Hughes and Mike Vaccaro who will likely hold down first and second singles respectively.
“I’ve been in high school for four years now and I don’t think I’ve seen the tennis team,” said Jordan Hughes. “But we’ve brought it back. We’re all really excited to play, obviously. I don’t think any of us have ever played tennis but I love this sport. I can’t get enough of it.”
Things looked very promising for the Warriors tennis program after the boys captured the ECIC IV crown in 2010. But the future, shockingly, was filled with several bumps along the way. The team was put on hold in just prior to the start of the 2011 season when the former coach departed unexpectedly for a new job and the district did not have enough time to replace him. The following two years were a mix of several reasons that kept the team dormant until its rebirth this spring.
Now, with Feyler firmly in place as coach and a roster of 14 kids who across the board of all grades the Warriors are looking to reclaim its glory on the court.
“Yeah we’re making states obviously,” Hughes said with a smile. “I see everyone trying hard in practice. Trying to get better because that’s all you can do. You can tell we’re trying to make states and we all want to. Just to live up to what we said.”
Made up of guys from the bowling, soccer and swim teams the Warriors know the reality is there are no full time tennis players on this team. But the drive and desire to learn that everyone has displayed has created an air of hope and optimism of what this program can do now and down the road.
“These guys wanted a team,” said Feyler. “It was all them. The excitement, you can tell it everyday when they step on the court.”
In her very first varsity coaching job Feyler, who played at SUNY-Cortland, said she could not have asked for a more dedicated, supportive group of kids and is thrilled to be part of the rebirth of tennis at THS.
“Coming in as the only girl coach in this entire league I was a little bit nervous myself,” she said. “But these guys have just listened to everything I’ve had to say and I’ve never had a problem. They’ve made my experience 10 times better than what I thought it would be.”
Ben Petko, Alex Ostrowski, Jed Woomer, Chris Freer, Jeremy Demmin, Kyle Niemiec, Thomas Draves, Dakota Harvey, Andy Danford, Eric Baumann Griffin Hilderbrandt and Carter Lazarus complete the roster.