Comet tennis coach still hopeful his team will hit the courts sometime this spring
By John Burbridge
CHARLES CITY — Hope for the best, be prepared for the worst.
Sometimes, you’ve got to be prepared for the best, too.
“Hopefully, we can finally start practicing in a few weeks,” Charles City head tennis coach Brian Parrott said.
When the Iowa Governor issued a mandate to close all schools until at least April 10 due to the pandemic, in compliance the Iowa Girls HIgh School Athletic Union in conjunction with the Iowa High School Athletic Association suspended all spring sport activities until the following Monday (April 13).
In the interim, practices and even interactions between coaches and athletes are prohibited.
Considering the toll the pandemic has inflicted since the mandate was announced, April 13 may seem a little early. But it’s the day after Easter, the date the President of the United States is hopeful will mark the rebirth of the country’s social, economic (and maybe even sporting) activities.
Even in the best-case scenario, spring teams are going to be pressed to get ready for opening-day competition.
“In a normal situation with us starting on the 16th (of March), that only gave us two weeks to get ready for our first meet,” Parrott said. “If we do play this year, it’s going to be an even shorter time to prepare.”
If the original altered timeline stays in effect, the first girls varsity tennis matches would be scheduled for April 24.
Last season, the Comets won seven meets — more than the previous three seasons combined. Charles City’s junior varsity squad was undefeated last season.
Though the Comets were unable to get a practice in before the season was suspended, they did hold pre-season sign-ups for players who are interested.
“We had 24 girls come out,” Parrott said. “We had 26 players last year. Our turnout has been pretty consistent.”
Among the returning players who helped the Comets’ uptick in victories last season were senior Lauren Connell and junior Kayla Kellogg.
“Lauren is coming off playing basketball and wrestling, so she’s had a busy winter,” Parrott said of left-hander Connell. “Her and Kayla are going to be our No. 1 doubles and leaders of the team.”
Returning letter-winners Jacie Wink and Heather Viers also posted numerous wins for the Comets last year as singles and doubles players.
“They did a good job for us,” said Parrott, who cited the pending return of Ally Faulkner.
“If we are able to play, those girls (Connell, Kellogg, Wink, Viers and Faulkner) will be in our varsity lineup,” Parrott said.