By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
The McNary High School boys varsity tennis team has a new head coach this season with deep roots in the tennis community.
Lisa Reid has joined the program as head coach replacing Marc McAvoy who hung up the whistle last summer.
Reid, in her first year as a head coach, played for Sprague High School in her teens and continued her career as a player for the Oregon State University Beavers. She’s currently a regional coordinator for the United States Tennis Association and was most recently an assistant coach at South Salem High School.
She hopes to impart on the team the same lessons she’s learned in a lifetime in the sport.
“It’s something you can compete at your whole life and it’s great exercise. The game as much a mental sport as it is a physical sport, you have to set your points up, go out and think,” Reid said.
The Celts were set to compete in their first match of the season Monday, March 12, but inclement weather forced a postponement.
The team returns two promising talents in senior Trevor Braun and junior Aaron Wenning. Neither athlete broke into competition at state level, but Braun narrowly missed an opportunity as a sophomore. Wenning’s high point last season was a match that lasted more than two hours against one of the top talents in the Central Valley Conference.
“I’m just trying to make my game better while preparing for the district tournament,” Wenning said.
With a young team at his back, Wenning’s goals were relatively modest.
“I’m hoping to teach some of the younger guys some the basics and get them to the point where they enjoy the game enough to stick with it,” he said.
That happens to match up nicely with Reid’s stated objectives.
“I want to take the kids as far as I can from where they start,” Reid said. “I think our strengths will be our determination and enthusiasm, but I want all the kids to do their best and have fun while leaving it all on the court.”
While spring weather is known to throw a wench in the schedule from time to time, Reid said the boys shouldn’t expect days off because of rain.
”I’m a big believer in conditioning. When we’re not out on the courts, we’ll be inside in the gym and I’m not afraid to do the workouts alongside the guys and shame them into it,” Reid said.
Reid was excited about the recent approval by the Keizer City Council to approve plans for tennis courts in Claggett Creek Park. She said it bodes well for the future of McNary’s tennis teams, which have traditionally struggled to compete with the tougher competition in the league hailing from areas in Salem where courts are more readily available.
“Tennis courts are a huge boost and I’m looking forward to what it will do for us in the future,” Reid said.
While things look bright for the future, Wenning was focused on what the team could do this season.
“If we get a couple of games off the other guys, we’ll be good. We’re always going to be shooting to win though, and I have faith in these guys,” he said.