LAKEWOOD – Ask any sports team, they would rather play in the comforts of their own home instead of going on the road.
Now, imagine not have a home game for almost 10 years.
That’s the situation for the Lakewood High School girls tennis team. Their old courts were so decrepit other teams wouldn’t play there. They weren’t even good enough to practice on so they had to be bused to Cedarcrest Middle School in Marysville. That has all changed with the new and improved LHS. Six new tennis courts, in a U.S. Open color scheme thanks to coach Bob Walker, were part of the deal.
It will take a while to build a program.
“There are no tennis people, families that play,” in the area, he said, adding the Cougars will have their first-ever boys tennis team in the fall.
Track coach Jeff Sowards said the new popularity of tennis has taken some of the depth away from his team as his squad numbers 80 compared with 100 in the past. But he has some state qualifiers returning, along with many “blue-collar, hard-working” track standouts in the making. Baseball coach Jacob Kon, who also will get a new field in the future, has a young squad with many quality freshmen who will see playing time, he said.
Spring sports teams at Marysville-Pilchuck, Marysville Getchell and Arlington also have been practicing since Feb. 26.
With a week under their belts, the M-P girls tennis, baseball and track teams were at it Monday. Like many spring practices, they saw sun, wind, rain and even some hail. Tuesday was much nicer with MG’s softball team and Arlington’s softball, baseball and track teams practicing in sunny weather.
The MG baseball team, which also practices at M-P, only has 22 players out this spring.
But coach Gabe Rochon is excited about his freshman class. Rochon is glad to have all of his starting infield back.
He only has a few seniors, but one thing with young players is you can watch them improve a lot every day, he said.
On the other side of the spectrum, M-P tennis coach Evan Shaw has 31 players out. Trouble is only six are returning. But the future looks bright if all the younger players stick with it.
M-P’s baseball team looks to be a contender this year, with a lot of experience back from the especially strong hitting team, James Day said. The M-P track team, with Mike Cull at the helm, looks to have some standouts as well.
MG’s softball team, led by Coach Mike Moran, will have solid pitching and hitting again this year.
In Arlington, the baseball team, under Coach Scott Streigel, returns a number of key players from a squad that went far a year ago. In softball, new coach Ashley Beard will be working with longtime coach Dan Eng in a transition year. Judd Hunter leads a track squad that should have plenty of standout performances.
Golf got underway at the Cedarcrest course Thursday with M-P and MG involved.
A softball jamboree will take place at host M-P Saturday starting at 10 a.m. with a number of teams involved, including MG and Lakewood.
In soccer, M-P will play the alumni Saturday. M-P tennis gets under way at home at Totem Middle School March 13 at 3:30 p.m. M-P baseball is at home against Lake Stevens March 14 at 4 p.m.
MG baseball is at home against Mount Vernon March 12 at 4 p.m. Tennis is at home against Mountlake Terrace at 3:30 p.m. March 13. Soccer is at home against Bellingham at 7 p.m. March 15.
Arlington’s softball team plays host to North Creek March 13 at 4 p.m. Its baseball team opens play March 14 at home against Cascade at 4 p.m. The girls tennis team is at home March 15 against Lake Stevens, starting at 4 p.m. Soccer starts March 16 at 7 p.m. at home against Monroe.
Lakewood’s soccer team got an early start March 8 hosting a jamboree. The baseball team is at home March 12 vs. Sedro-Woolley at 4 p.m. Golf starts at Cedarcrest course in Marysville March 13. Also March 13 the tennis team is at home against Anacortes at 3:30 on its new courts. The track team is home March 15 at 4 p.m. against Burlington-Edison.
Some other teams aren’t at home for weeks. Arlington’s golf team is at home against M-P March 20 at 3 p.m. Its track team is at home April 26 at 3:30 p.m. against Lake Stevens.
MG’s boys golf team is at home March 22 in a four-team match at Cedarcrest at 3 p.m. The girls golf team is at M-P March 27.