Tennis: High-schoolers getting head start on upcoming year

Junior Sawyer McGee works at the net during the Rochelle summer camp session Monday afternoon. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

1st Annual Rochelle Hubs Tennis Tournament coming in July

ROCHELLE — The Rochelle Township High School tennis program has always had open courts during the summer, when new and returning players can play matches and sharpen their skills to prepare for the upcoming season. Head coaches Kristy Eckardt and Lizzie Cartwright are taking a new approach this summer, however, blocking out specific times during June and July for Hub and Lady Hub players to practice.

The RTHS high school summer camp started this past week, with players taking the courts three days a week on Monday (12:30 to 2:30 p.m.), Tuesday (5 to 7 p.m.) and Wednesday (12:30 to 2:30 p.m.). The camp will run through the end of July, with the girls tennis season officially beginning with practices on Wednesday, Aug. 14. Monday sessions will move to a 10-to-12 p.m. timeframe beginning July 1, with times on Tuesdays and Wednesdays staying the same.

“We’ve always tried to have times where the high-schoolers can be at the courts, but we’re trying harder now, especially Tuesday nights, to get players and members of the community to come play,” Eckardt said. “We want to create more of a community atmosphere, and we want to give the kids some other people to play against.”

The high school camp will conclude with the 1st Annual Rochelle Hubs Tennis Tournament, which will serve up on Saturday, July 27. While more details are coming soon, the tournament will allow men and women from different age groups to compete for both singles and doubles titles. Players are also encouraged to attend summer strength and conditioning sessions through the Hub Power program.

“The turnout this summer has been the best we’ve seen in a few years,” Eckardt said. “We’ve had about 20 kids each day… Any time the kids can get on the court, it’s going to help, especially for our incoming freshman. They can adapt to the high school game and get more confident in themselves. Even getting outside and hitting balls with friends will be beneficial.”

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