Houlton tennis has strong numbers

3 years ago

HOULTON, Maine — If the number of students participating in tennis is any indication, the sport is alive and well at Houlton Middle-High School.

A total of 20 student athletes, evenly split between 10 boys and 10 girls, will hit the courts for the Shires when Houlton hosts its first tennis meet of the spring sports season at noon Saturday, April 24.

“We have really great numbers considering we did not have a season last spring due to COVID-19,” veteran coach Nancy Mooers said. “We also had the core of our team graduate last year, without getting the chance to play their senior year, which is very sad.”

Sydney Lorom, Maddie Grant and Grace Johnson, the top three singles players for the Shires in 2019, along with Samantha Condon who played doubles, all graduated in 2020. For the boys,  Jaron Gentle and Nate Delucca, two of the top three singles players, both graduated in 2020 

Mooers took over the Shire tennis program in 2017 following the retirement of Jean Maunder. She served as an assistant coach in 2016 and coached junior high tennis in the 1990s.

Members of the girls squad are seniors Reagan Perfitt and Dina Koretsky; sophomores Natalie DeLucca, Hillary Peabody, Haley Quint, Riley Sylvain, Mariah Peterson and Cindy Hannigan; and freshmen Alex Collins and Sophie Lorom. 

HOULTON, Maine — April 15, 2021 — Haley Quint returns a shot during an April 15 practice for the Houlton tennis team. The regular season for the Shires begins Saturday, April 24.  (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

For the boys, team members are juniors Gage Bartlett, Bradley Bean, Landon Dirusso, Jadon Gentle and Caleb Solomon; sophomores Nicholas Hardy and Brody McLaughlin; and freshmen Jackson Cullen, Konnor Lynds and Kohl Skehan.

“We have some great athletes who will be called upon to fill a number of important positions for us this year,” Mooers said.

Mooers said the simple fact that the athletes were able to have a spring sports season, after losing that opportunity a year ago, is not something she takes lightly. The tennis players will be required to wear masks during matches, but that is the only change her squads must endure this season.

“I do have to keep reminding the kids to pull their masks up,” Mooers said. “Tennis, by the nature of the sport, you are 6 feet away from your opponent, even with doubles. I actually felt we could have done it [played] last year. I am thankful for the opportunity to have a regular schedule and the kids are too.”

HOULTON, Maine — April 15, 2021 — Veteran tennis coach Nancy Mooers (left) speaks to Alex Collins during a Thursday, April 15, practice in Houlton. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)