The Waconia girls tennis team is kicking off the season this week when they travel to Litchfield Sept. 1 and host Jordan Sept. 3. This is the first year for the program, with coach Jeff Bessire teaching the new group.

“I was able to coach some of the summer camps and was able to talk with many of the girls and boys who joined the team last spring or this fall and got to see their excitement first hand,” Bessire said. “Many students are beginners, but were doing their best to get better so they can be ready for a true season.”

The girls team has 24 signed up with a wide range of abilities from intermediate to beginner.

“As expected from a starter program, we have a lot of beginners at all age groups, but I am seeing wonderful leadership from our few upperclassmen,” said Bessire. “We may not have a lot of experience this year, but with the enthusiasm I see through 1 week of practice, I’m sure we will continue to grow as a team for years to come.”

With a new program, the goals are less about wins and losses, and more about growing a love for the sport.

“Having never had a team before, I am trying to keep our goal setting away from wins and losses, but towards personal improvement, and team unity,” Bessire said. “The best teams are the ones in which they feel joy every time they go to practice, and can count on each other during good and bad times.”

A pair of juniors are already taking the initiative to lead the way.

“Through the first week I am impressed with much of the raw talent in our freshmen, but two impressive leaders have popped up from our juniors Kathe Ludford and Allison Bloem,” said Bessire. “They are showing a high amount of initiative to get this team to grow together and support one another.”

The Wildcats have a total of 10 matches set up with nine being in conference and one non-conference. The lone non-conference matchup will be with Southwest Christian High School in Chaska.

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