The girls tennis team at Pitman High accomplished a stunning feat last year, winning more matches than all of the program’s previous seasons combined. Things are different this year, however, as nine of last year’s top players have moved on from Pitman as well as Jeff Hayes, the Pride’s former head coach and tennis mainstay.
Pitman’s new head coach, Doug Reimers, finds himself with a group of young ladies eager to repeat last season’s performance and make it back to the post-season. The road won’t be easy but the Pride are ready for the ride.
“They’re learning and I’m leaning. We’re all getting thrown into the deep in at the same time,” Reimers said. “We are definitely in a rebuilding year but we have a lot of young players coming up from exhibition that love tennis.”
Thankfully for Pitman Britney Leon returns as the top singles player, just one of two seniors on the team. But, unfortunately for the Pride, Rashel Pritchard, who was expected to be a key contributor this season, will miss the entire year with a knee injury.
To counter Pritchard’s absence Pitman will lean on Brianna Wheeler and Sally Acosta in the singles bracket and the teams of Alexandra Austin and Macey Loomis and Kathleen Synstad and Ruby Hernandez to secure precious points during competition.
“Our doubles will be one of our strengths this year,” Reimers said.
Newcomer Barbara Beasley will also be an important factor in this year’s success, bringing emotional leadership and youthful intensity to the Pride.
Pitman’s season opener is only days away. The Pride will travel to Merced High where they will face the Bears on Sept. 11.
“I expect us to get better as the year goes on,” Reimers said. “They’re learning at an incredibly rapid rate but they need some experience under their belts.”