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Boys tennis leads return of high school sports

Caledonia hosts match to kickoff fall season
Posted at 2:12 PM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 16:36:30-04

CALEDONIA, Mich. — For the first time since March 11, high school athletic competitions are back in the state of Michigan.

At Caledonia High School on Wednesday, Byron Center and Allegan joined the Fighting Scots on the tennis courts for the first match of the fall season.

"It's so big for the kids," said Allegan boys tennis coach, Jen Aldrich, "they need it mentally and physically."

After high school football was postponed to the spring and other fall sports are left up in the air, tennis is continuing, at least for now.

"We're fortunate enough to play today, because there are a lot of athletes in the state that don't get to play anything right now," Aldrich added, "we feel fortunate to be here."

And for seniors like Caledonia's Andrew Larson, having a tennis season means so much.

"It's senior year so I'm trying to have a lot of fun," Larson said, "a lot of guys have worked really hard this offseason, so being out here is truly a blessing."

Byron Center junior and top singles player Elijah Schilthuis is another player excited to hit the court.

"It has been a long time since we've been able to get out here and play a sport," Schilthuis added, "I think it's great and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season, if we get to play it."

Even with the limited contact between players, there are plenty of protocols in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"We're needing to disinfect the score cards every time we change a match," said Caledonia boys tennis coach, Scott Bont, "we're hand sanitizing every time we go on the court and come off of it."

Each player is also given just two balls to take onto the court for each match.

"I think tennis is one of the safest activities we can do, because of the distance we can do, and the limited contact with the other players," Bont mentioned.

All players and coaches agree that wins and losses, at least for right now, are secondary.

"Winning means a lot, but maybe it's not everything this year," Aldrich said, "to see other kids, it meant a whole lot to them."