After having much success in Division 2, including a 31-10 record over the past three seasons, the Cranston West boys tennis team made the jump up to Division I this spring season.
The Falcons have gone through some growing pains in the early going, starting off the regular season with a 0-4 record. West graduated some of its top talent last spring, and is currently going through a rebuild this year.
“We need to get stronger with our basic skills. We need to be consistent and give ourselves more opportunities to be more competitive. Those fundamentals, those are the things that we’re working on. For most of the kids, this is only like their second year of playing tennis,” said West coach Jim Lucas.
Although the Falcons have introduced a young lineup, they do return some key members of last year’s club that helped them remain one of the top groups in D2, including No. 1 singles player Ben Ainley, who is a senior.
“We were very good in Division 2 the last few years and we made the move up. Ben Ainley is our No. 1 and was an all-stater last year. He had a great win over a La Salle and a Hendricken opponent, he’s doing very well. He’s also our team captain, he keeps the team together and is a fantastic kid,” said Lucas.
Despite the tough start to the 2019 campaign, Lucas is optimistic about the club, especially in its captains, who’s leadership has impressed him to this point.
“They have good effort; they work really hard and they have a great attitude. They bring it everyday at practice, and our captains are terrific … they’ve been great to have in the group,” said Lucas. “Our top three kids in Ben, Dan Meyerson, and Jackson Harris are very strong and have been around for a while … the kids behind them are pretty new and just need some experience.”