Sports

New coach comes out swinging

Eric Bergeson is big on loyalty.

When he was offered an opportunity to take over the girls soccer program, that meant he had to give up his two-year gig as the boys tennis coach.

It would have especially tough leaving the group of guys not knowing who would take over the tennis program.

Bergeson never had to worry, because Todd Olson was promoted to the head coaching position.

Olson, who assisted the tennis team last year, played college tennis at Montana State from 1996-2000.

When asked how Olson compares to Bergeson, Olson said they were similar — but different.

“I have more of a focus on the play on the court and Bergie was very fitness- and discipline-oriented,” Olson said. “It was great watching him because I learned more about the discipline aspect of the game.”

Olson said he couldn’t have wished for a better transition.

“This is my first permanent coaching job,” Olson said. “But I am comfortable sliding right in there.”

Just like Bergeson, Olson hopes to build a tennis program beyond the fall season.

While there’s no quick solution to beating the Gig Harbors and Bellarmines, Olson said he’s in the process of drumming up interest before students get to high school.

“We had a summer camp here for the first time and we had 35 players,” Olson said. “Twelve of those players were between fourth and eighth grade. What we need to do to improve the program is get into the junior highs. Most of them don’t know anything about our program until they get to high school.”

Olson is calling this year the first of a big rebuilding phase.

While Olson replaces Bergeson, the tennis team will be hard pressed to replace state qualifier Brandon Adams and district qualifier Kevin Yoder.

With their graduation, Olson will look for positive results from seniors Doug Lyman and Samir Mehio, junior Adam Bennett, and sophomore Andy Hultz.

Olson said some of the most important players on his team may be the über athletes who excel in other sports but not necessarily tennis.

“We have some soccer players and other athletes that will just try to improve everyone’s game,” Olson said. “They’re hustle players. They will help motivate the other kids.”

Another benefit to the tennis program is the absence of cutting players.

Though only eight players get into varsity action, there are always challenge matches so no spot is safe.

“The benefit of not cutting kids is the proper way to build a program,” he said.

With more than 20 players turning out Olson said the future can look bright, but it will essentially be up to each individual to want more out of tennis if the program is to move up a notch.

“We’re going to be fine,” Olson said. “We’re still in the middle of the pack but I think we can beat teams such as CK, Olympic, PA.”

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