MARYSVILLE — Young tennis players who want to freshen up their skills or get their feet wet in the sport can do so at Totem Middle School.
The junior team helps kids learn or practice with a competitive edge, minus the stress.
Tennis coach Arnie Moreno thought the team was essential for Marysville. The closest tennis club was in Stanwood which closed three years ago. So local kids are having difficulty finding places to practice outside of tennis season, Moreno said. The closest club now is in Mill Creek.
“A lot of kids don’t have a club to go to,” he said. “The kids really need this. This is their chance to come and hone those skills.”
The program has existed for 12 years, but this year has even implemented league standings to the appropriate age groups to add to the competitiveness.
“The thing is, it has a mixture of kids that are high-end or all the way down to advance beginner or intermediate,” Moreno said. “Some made it to state or districts for their high schools.”
“I had kids that were eight years-old and now they’re doing well,” Moreno said.
One of those is Marysville Getchell’s Marina Ciferri, who competed at state as a junior.
Another player is Cassandra Viaz, who has been with the program for 11 years. She was on Lake Stevens’ junior varisty team when she was a freshman.
“We play teams from all over. I lose a lot but that helps me improve,” Viaz said of the new summer league.
The variety and competitiveness is what has some kids coming back for more, such as Connor Gross, who has been with the program for three years and plays varsity for Marysville-Pilchuck.
“I like that it’s fun and a way to get more practice in the summer,” Gross said. “I’ve done lessons with Arnie before. I heard about this and decided to come out and do this.”
“I basically improved on everything,” he added. “Arnie does a good job making balanced practices.”
Others like Meghan Zimmerman, who will enter Marysville Getchell as a freshman, hopes to get some practice in before tryouts.
“It’s good practice because there is not a lot of opportunity to come out and play tennis with kids your age,” she said. “I enjoy playing with kids who also plan on going to high school.”
Zimmerman has played tennis before recreationally when she was younger, but never competitively.
“I’m hoping to make varsity, but I still need quite a bit of practice,” she added. “Getting practice before school starts might give me an upper-hand.”
People can still register through Marysville’s Parks and Recreation’s website for half the original price, but there are only a few matches left, Moreno said.