Marysville rivalry hits the tennis courts
By LAUREN SALCEDO
Marysville Globe Reporter
September 19, 2012 · 9:44 AM
MARYSVILLE — For the first time ever, two Marysville varsity athletic programs in the 3A division went head-to-head as Marysville Getchell High School’s tennis team competed against Marysville-Pilchuck High School on Sept. 10.
The first ever competition between the two Marysville schools — now rivals — ended in a 7-0 victory for Marysville Getchell, an away game for them at Totem Middle School.
“This is the first time these teams have ever played each other,” said Robert Sherry, head coach for MG. “Three or four of my players actually played on these courts as part of the M-P team.”
Last year was the inaugural year for varsity athletics at Marysville Getchell, and a lot of it was building up talent from a fractured group.
“The good news is double the number of kids have the opportunity to play at the varsity level,” said Randy Davis, head coach for M-P. “The bad news is that we are essentially splitting the team in half.”
Although 2011 marked the first year of sports for MG, they still did not have a league rivalry with M-P, because the school remained classified as a 4A-sized school, despite a drop in enrollment numbers. This fall season is the first that the two Marysville schools face each other in league contests, with playoff implications — and the tennis match was the first competition of the season.
“This is really a bit of Marysville history in the making,” said Davis.
Dividing the original Marysville team into two separate halves was a struggle for each, as they worked double trying to bring their skill back up to a competitive level.
“It was difficult last year,” said Sherry. “When you have a split team, the talent is also split, so both teams were weak as a part of it. We were outmatched quite a bit last year, because everyone has to play at a higher ranking.”
One benefit of having a tough first year is the level of knowledge that each player has gained — both about the game and themselves.
“They’ve certainly got a lot of experience,” said Sherry, who had nine returning varsity players. One returning player is No. 1 singles Ryan Clausen, a junior. “He played some singles at No. 1 last year and it was really trial by fire but he hung with it pretty well,” said Sherry.
Clausen, along with a few other Chargers tennis players, has grown a lot since last year. “I’ve got some players who have improved quite a bit,” said Sherry.
M-P returned seven varsity players from last year.
“Our No. 1 right now is Kurtis Brown, but I anticipate that it will be a rotating position,” said Davis. “Both Getchell and I are building our programs and when you play No. 1 in the high school circuit you get beat up a lot.”
For both teams, the goal is to finish higher than before.
“We are just about getting kids to improve,” said Davis. “Both Robert and I agree that we are at the bottom of our respective leagues, so we are just trying to keep things positive.”
M-P faced Monroe in their first contest of the year, and stole a 4-3 victory from the Bearcats. Their next match-up versus Shorecrest resulted in a 6-1 loss for the Tomahawks. “Those two teams were so dramatically at different ends of the tennis spectrum,” said Davis. “Monroe had no experience and we scrambled past them. But tennis is an economic sport and Shorecrest and a lot of the other schools to the south are club teams.”
For both Davis and Sherry, building a strong tennis program at each school is the focus of the season.
“These guys are actually really great as a group,” said Sherry. “They’ve come along together, they are supportive of each other.”
“I’m just hoping the kids stay positive and enjoy playing and keep trying to get better,” said Davis. “A lot of it is just knowing what to do and how to think when you’re on the court and that takes practice.”
The Tomahawks face Oak Harbor in an away match on Sept. 19 at 3:30 p.m. The Chargers face Everett at home on Sept. 19 at 3:30 p.m.
Contact Marysville Globe Reporter Lauren Salcedo at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-659-1300, Ext. 5054.