Tennis teams to take first ever spring trip

by Kelli Herzberg

For the first time in school history, the Simpson tennis program is taking a week-long spring break trip to Orlando, Fla.

Men’s Tennis Coach Bob Nutgrass said the decision to take the spring break trip is a tactic to help further recruiting for Simpson tennis and to help the current team.

“It is an opportunity to play some different schools,” Nutgrass said. “We are playing people we have never played before and also we are using it as a recruiting tool and it’s something I think would help build our program so that we can get some more quality players.”

Women’s Tennis Coach Pat Heller also said the trip will build both the team and the tennis program.

“If we want to build our program we need to do trips like this to help the recruiting,” Heller said. “When I started I knew some of the other coaches like coach Wilson with the boy’s basketball and coach Niemuth with the girl’s basketball and they both said it was a good recruiting tool to do trips. I think it will be good. I think we will get good competition and I think it will be fun.”

Sophomore Matt Johnson said this would benefit recruiting.

“We wanted to do something that would help the recruiting aspect a little bit,” Johnson said. “All of the other top teams in the conference go on trips. We thought this would maybe help bring other players in.”

But the trip isn’t all about developing the player’s skills and recruiting.

“The main focus is just to get down there and give the students an opportunity to travel for spring break,” Nutgrass said. “One of my goals is to try to build some team camaraderie and cohesion so that we are spending time with each other and we get to know each other a little bit better during the week. Obviously we want to get down there and compete well. I think that the teams we have scheduled are pretty good teams.”

Johnson is excited about playing tennis in Orlando.

“It’s something different,” Johnson said. “We have never done this before so we decided to go and hang out for a week. We have four matches. I look forward to being in Florida and playing tennis; that is where a majority of the pros go train.”

The trip isn’t just about playing tennis. The team plans on doing some sightseeing and just hanging out.

“We have two days where we left open for sightseeing and we (are) going to try to get to the beach one day and then the other day we are talking about getting to one of the theme parks,” Nutgrass said. “You cannot go to Florida without going to a theme park. And then we are talking about going to a Magic basketball game on one of the evenings and a couple of the girls expressed interest in going to Daytona Beach, going to see the speedway. We have got some time built in there for spring break stuff.”

Heller said he’d like to make it a permanent thing.

“I think this may be a permanent thing,” Heller said. “We are maybe planning some even more exotic spots. I am not exactly sure where that might be but it is something I want to look into.”

For now, the team is getting excited and anticipating their first trip.

“We have never done this before so we do not know what to expect,” Nutgrass said. “It will be interesting to see what happens but we are looking forward to it. It should be a good time.”