The impacts of Covid-19 on high school sports like tennis has been such that life on and off the court has changed in some ways for student athletes and teams like the Jasper Wildcats.
"This year we couldn't even do anything with coach up until July," said Jasper Senior Grant Stratton. "That's just a month later that we actually get to start our season, so obviously we had to progress quicker throughout the season."
"We've had to get ready faster, but I think it's been good for us," said Jasper Junior Max Sternberg. "Our whole team was hitting during quarantine so we were staying on top of it, but it's great to be back.
Jasper is now competing in the SIAC, and despite seeing new opponents, the Wildcats have posted a perfect league record.
"I don't know that the change of opponents makes a big difference," said Head Jasper Tennis Coach Scotty Yarbrough. "I've gotten to go to some different venues. Seven of our top nine being back from last year has made the transition probably pretty easy on the coaching staff."
"These guys we're playing are really good, so I think it's going to get us ready for the long run," said Sternberg. "Sectional, regional, all that stuff so it's been preparing us."
The Wildcasts sent a doubles team to state last year, and with a gorup that has seven seniors, the team belives this year is the season to make a big splash in the postseason.
"We returned our 3 singles players, so a lot of experience and things that it's tough to teach and tough to go through, unless you've been there and done that," said Yarbrough. "Those guys have done that."
"We've just got to be more prepared," said Stratton. "We were not very prepared for that match. We got blown out of the water a little bit but I think an extra year of experience and a year experience of me actually being there will help us prepare more and be ready for whenever or if that time comes this year."