SVSJ preview: Mount Si boys’ tennis continues to grow, improve

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fifth in our series of previews for Mount Si High School fall sports teams. Today, we look at boys’ tennis.

Around 30 boys turned out to compete for the Mount Si High School boys’ tennis program, and that continues a growth trend which hopefully will help the program become more competitive in the future. (Rhett Workman/SVSJ)

Mount Si High School’s boys’ tennis program continues to grow, and with that, there is hope of more success around the corner.

Returning as head coach this fall is high school photography instructor Jim Gibowski, and he is pleased with what he is seeing. “I’m really happy with the turnout,” Gibowski said, noting he had around 30 boys turn out for the first practice August 20. He’s especially happy with one aspect of that turnout. “I’ve got a lot of freshmen,” Gibowski said.

And those freshmen are expected as the season wears on to potentially make some waves within the program, and helping that effort will be the team’s senior returners. Both Rhett Haney and Van Magnan come back for their fourth years in the program, and that experience will be a key. Haney looks to share his knowledge with the young newcomers. “There’s a lot of freshmen and I like to lead by example. If they need a little help, I’ll give them a couple tips here and there, hopefully just lead them on the right path,” Haney said.

A top young player this fall for the Wildcats, and one who will look to fill some big shoes, is sophomore Matt Griffin. Griffin is pretty modest about what fans should see from him. “They can expect some wins,” he said. Griffin, who is a year-round player, will look to fill the void which was left by the mid-season departure last season of star Camden Foucht, who decided to pursue other sports opportunities.

The top teams this season are expected to be the usual suspects of Bellevue and Mercer Island, but the Wildcats may have an advantage over them at the end of the season: Gibowski told the SVSJ the school’s tennis facility appears to be the favorite to host the Kingco boys’ tennis championships in October. According to Gibowski, cost and the desire to do the event outdoors and under the lights were the main factors in this opportunity opening up for Mount Si. Should this be made official, it will mark the first Kingco tennis championships to be held at the new Mount Si tennis facilities, and the first Kingco sports championship tournament held at the high school since softball did theirs here in 2010.

Magnan, who is expected to be a top doubles participant this fall, also looks to help younger players. “I’m more of a doubles specialist. I think there’s a lot of strategy involved in doubles that takes a long time to pick up on,” he said. “If I can help them, then they’ll be able to grow and be better than me one day.”

Gibowski hopes that many of the freshmen will look to stay involved in the sport, thus helping the growth of the program. There are a couple of ways he looks to achieve that. “First of all, we don’t cut anybody,” he said. “The guys who just play tennis during the tennis season, that’s one thing, but the better players are going to play beyond this tennis season. Even if they don’t play for a club, they can play against each other and we just need more of that.”

Another senior to watch is Josh Hamann, and Gibowski is thrilled to have him on board. “He leads by example and is just a hard worker, a really neat kid,” the coach said.

The Wildcats host Juanita to open the season September 11.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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