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South Kitsap returns veteran roster | Boys tennis preview

South Kitsap senior Tyler Jackson is competing with junior Caleb Bray for the Wolves
South Kitsap senior Tyler Jackson is competing with junior Caleb Bray for the Wolves' No. 1 singles position.
— image credit: Chris Chancellor/Staff Photo

It often is said that coaching jobs come open for a reason — a flawed roster.

New South Kitsap boys tennis coach Mark Myers feels fortunate that is not the case for him.

Myers, a derivatives trader, replaces Todd Olson, who resigned to spend more time with his family at the end of the last school year after guiding the boys and girls teams for several years. While Olson's No. 1 singles player and Class 4A Narrows League champion Dakota Giddings graduated, Myers inherits a senior-laden roster.

"It really has helped me," Myers said. "Being new to the coaching side, they have helped show me what they're capable of."

He projects a half-dozen seniors claiming varsity positions, but junior Caleb Bray could emerge as Giddings' successor. Myers expects Bray to vie with senior Tyler Jackson for that honor.

"They both have great fundamentals," said Myers, when asked what has led to those two sticking out.

In a sense, Jackson is just happy to be out there. He had surgery to repair the medial-collateral ligament in his right knee — an injury he attributed to overuse from playing both soccer and tennis — in March. Before the surgery, Jackson said he frequently dislocated his knee, but it feels much better now.

"I didn't pick up a racket until the end of June and did not play a match until the end of July," he said.

Because of the experience and depth on the roster, Jackson thinks the top singles and doubles spots will be competitive. Among the seniors Myers named — Mason Drury, Austin Hammer, Shawn Lange, Matthew Lyman and Austin Wilson — Jackson said he particularly has been impressed with one.

"Austin Wilson has gotten so much better than last year," he said. "It's scary."

While Jackson, who was on the top doubles' team last year, and Bray are the frontrunners for the No. 1 position that does not mean both are assured singles' spots. Myers said he wants to see where the competitors, who also include sophomores Isaiah Roinas and Aaron Scott, are most comfortable.

"I don't want to change it up too much during the season," Myers said. "Doubles are all about chemistry."

Myers, who played tennis for a semester at Northern Arizona before transferring back to the University of Washington, said he is impressed with the dedication his players have shown.

"They work hard," he said. "I have five guys out here an hour before practice. They're driven, but they have fun."

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