Game, Set, Match: New courts, new coach, and new season for SJP Girls’ Tennis

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School has just rolled around, its beginning riddled with the trademark chaos of scheduling conflicts and waking up early, new classes, students, and staff. Alongside academics, school athletics are starting to reach full swing—and adding the ever-present stress of which practice? Where? Are my forms in? Did I remember my cleats? For the Saint John’s Prep girls’ tennis team, there are many more adjustments to get used to this season.

For the past five or so years, Prep girls’ tennis has struggled without a vital part of a working tennis team: home courts. We had laid claim to the nearby Kennedy elementary school tennis facility—two small, barren courts in the middle of an exposed field. They were nice courts when the weather decided to cooperate—which was once in a blue moon—but there was no getting around the fact that we were just borrowing them. Additionally, the tennis team could only hold home meets on the rare occasion Saint Ben’s courts were unoccupied and up for grabs.

This year, along with a new coach, SJP Girls’ Tennis has new accommodations: the dome at Fitness Evolution in Sartell. Needless to say, the team is excited. Four open courts just for us, available in any type of weather; we won’t get tennis tans now, and we won’t get frostbite later in October! The “bubble” also gives Prep’s girls’ tennis the fancy little title of “the only high school team in Central Minnesota with indoor courts.”

With nearly double the scheduled matches we had last year, girls’ tennis is leveling up in its competition as well as its courts. The team is officially back in the conference as a Varsity competitor—and we’re as eager as we are nervous. Our new coach, Mark Muntifering, with 30+ years of tennis and coaching experience, is joining forces with returning assistant coach (and physics teacher) Mr. Miller, to lead us down the path of victory. Mark told me, “I’m excited to be working with a team that’s so enthusiastic and eager to learn.” We can only hope our record will reflect the hard work we’ll be putting into this season.

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