The Jaguar Tennis team is en route to having success this season and in seasons to come. Led by head coach Robert Vinson and assistant coach Maj. Patrick Stovall, the team has adjusted well to the challenges created by COVID-19 protocols. According to Coach Vinson, “we can not do the things we’ve done in the past as far as cardio, as far as a lot of the running and a lot of the calisthenics that we do. Primarily we’re just doing stretching, static and dynamic stretching, just to try to keep from hurting ourselves but very little cardio work because we’re doing everything with masks on and it’s already trying to have to play singles or doubles with a mask on the entire match.” The athletes have adapted well to this change, with Coach Stovall saying, “our students have risen to the challenge.”
Among these students is another source of leadership for the team, senior Talon Francis. Talon dealt with health issues throughout the pandemic and his coaches believe that his battle will only add to his abilities as a leader. Coach Stovall commented, “we think he can bring a lot to the team, on the sports side of it and on the leadership side of it, he’s matured quite a bit since I met him several years ago and given his unique experiences, with his medical experiences, he’s got a different perspective, and I think he can bring some light and leadership to our team.” Talon wants to make the most of his final season at Flowers, saying, “my goal is to go undefeated. I want to beat every school, I want to win every game, and my expectations are that we can do that, if we keep practicing, playing aggressive, playing like we always have.”
Talon will play #2 Singles for the males, while junior Brock Rones will play #1 Singles. Tiffany Njemanze, also a junior, is the lone female singles player on the team at this time. The doubles teams are comprised of newcomers, including juniors Jayden Greene and Savannah Washington, sophomore Moniola George, and freshman Naima Fagon. The coaches speak highly of the new recruits, both describing them as “very coachable.”
Jaguars Tennis will hit the court for their first matches on April 29th at Duval. They return home for the following two weeks, facing Friendly on May 6th and Duval on May 13th, before finishing the season with two away matches, Friendly on May 20th and a Round Robin on May 27th. Jaguar Sports Media will stream all home matches on Justagame Live; more information on the streams will soon be released. If you want a more in-depth look at the team, JSM will highlight them on May 14th.
Writers: Marie Abongwa and Taylor Rollins, Field Reporters: Jayden Johnson and Byrce Singleton