The Yelm High School boys finished their tennis season 5-3 after playing each team in the league twice.
In the last game of the season, the Tornadoes beat Timberline 3-2.
“The two that we lost (against Timberline), we won three sets, so we did pretty good against them,” said coach Mike McClellan.
There wasn’t as strong of a turnout as compared to years prior, McClellan said, but there were still enough athletes to compete.
“Our top player is Oliver Busina,” he said. “He’s grown physically taller and he’s spent a lot of time playing off season.”
Busina only lost a couple close matches to a Capital player that he spends time playing against during the off-season in club matches.
The lead doubles team, Hunter Cayford and Thomas Smith, only lost to Capital as well.
And Jacob Hensley was another standout player, taking the second singles spot for the team.
The Tornados will only lose two seniors this year, so it will be moving into next season nearly intact, with all the top athletes returning.
“I don’t think I had a favorite match,” McClellan said, though he did highlight the matches against River Ridge, where the Tornados split their outings, winning the first competition and losing the second.
Despite COVID-19-related setbacks, McClellan said he’s proud of how hard the boys worked all season long.
“We saw a lot of progress in the boys that did come out,” he said. “I thought that the ones who were able to stay active during the whole season made good progress. The problem is that we ran into some problems with COVID and some kids had to sit out for a couple weeks until the last match.”
McClellan said the boys had a lot to deal with this year beyond tennis, with remote learning and the transition to the hybrid model — extraneous stress that weighed on the athletes.
In a community like Yelm, he said boys often get to experience tennis for the first time at the high school level.
“For being a rural community that doesn’t have a lot of families that are into tennis has been a challenge because there are so many new kids that have never played tennis,” McClellan said. “But it’s also fun that way because you get to see a lot of progress.”
Overall, the coach is glad the kids got a chance to compete this season.
“My general thoughts (on the season) are that it’s great that we got to play, but it’s really sort of an odd season since there was no postseason to go to and we played the whole season in about seven weeks,” McClellan said. “But the fact that they got to play at all after all this COVID stuff was good.”