With only two days of outdoor drills behind them the Bemidji High tennis team takes to the courts today for its season opener, hosting Grand Rapids at 2 and Park Rapids at 5 in a triangular at the high school tennis complex.
Park Rapids and Grand Rapids will clash at 3:30.
Bemidji dropped a pair of 5-2 decisions to the Thunderhawks last spring but beat Park Rapids 6-1 in their lone meeting.
Coach Scott Engelstad is looking toward an improved season this spring.
The Jacks were 7-6 late in the season in 2008 but dropped their final four starts to end 7-10.
That marked the sixth straight sub-.500 year for the boys that followed a string of six straight winning years from1997-2002.
Engelstad begins his 16th season of coaching the boys.
Graduation claimed only three seniors last year, most of them reserves.
Back are all four starting singles players, Sam Weaver, Ben Holter, Ryan Rude and Adam Holter a senior. Junior, soph and freshman in that order.
Ben Holter ended 11-7. Rude 14-5 and Adam Holter 7-4 last year. All four figure to be improved over their previous year.
Doubles will be a problem at the start as Engelstad tries to fit a number of players into the three starting duos.
Seniors Stephen Bucher and Aaron Johnson, who were regulars last year, will move to No. 1. They had different partner, however, last year and could take a few matches to get acquainted.
The remaining pair were still to be set but will come from Josh Pierce, Ben Kloha, Justin Byers, Levi Rickert, Aaron Eickhorst, Joey Wood, Kyle Fodness and Wes Rogers.
Eickhorst, Pierce and Rogers are the only seniors of this group with Byers, Kloha and Wood juniors, Rickert a soph and Fodness a freshman.
Gone is junior Matt Lee, a regular all last year, who transferred to track this spring.
Tuesday's postponed match with Crookston will be made up April 16 when the Jacks face the Pirates at 2 en route to their 5 p.m. match at East Grand Forks.
The May 8 match at Crookston has been shifted to Bemidji.
Bemidji has six home appearances including the Northwest Quadrangular April 30.
The North Sub-section meets are at Brainerd this year and the sectionals at St. Cloud Apollo.
Apr. 7 Crookston 4:30
Apr. 9 Grand Rapids-Bemidji 2:00
Gr. Rapids-Park Rapids 3:30
Park Rapids-Bemidji 5:00
Apr. 16 at East Grand Forks 4:30
Apr. 17 at Brainerd 4:30
Apr. 21 at Detroit Lakes 4:30
Apr. 23 Thief River Falls 4:30
Apr. 25 Moorhead Inv. 9:00
Apr. 28 at Perham 4:30
Apr. 30 Northwest Quad 10:00
May 2 TRF-Bemidji 9;30
May 5 at DL Triangular 2:00
(East Grand Forks)
May 8 at Crookston 4:30
May 9 Moorhead 11:00
May 14 at Grand Rapids 4:30
May 15 Fergus Falls Triangular 3:00
May 19 8AA North Team, Brd. 9:00
May 21 8AA-North Ind., Brd. 9:00
May 26 8AA Team, Apollo 9:00
May 27 8AA Ind., Apollo 9:00
June 2 State Team, U of M TBD
June 3 State Team, U of M TBD
June 4 State Ind., U of M TBD
June 5 State Ind., U of M TBD