Nixa tennis

Nixa's tennis team includes (front row, l-r) Nick Suntken, Trey Hartwell, Blake Staley, Brody Ball, Jayden Roesler, Landon Myers, Kobe Harris, Tanner Barnes, Austin Gough, (middle row, l-r) Cade Horning, Dallin Attwooll, Zander Thatcher, Isaac Forbis, Dakon Onnen, Asher Speaks, Gabe Keckler, Zach Vaughan, (back row, l-r) coach Slade Snowden, Carter Grantham, Roman Manasseri, Garrett Jarvis, Ethan Armstrong, Garrett Robertson, Jaylin Onnnen, Mark Meads, Evan Breuer, Michael Meads, Edward Eiche, Brady Vaughan, Cullen Stoelzel and assistant Jason Shepherd

Garrett Robertson assumes the No. 1 singles slot for Nixa this season as the Eagles welcome back four players from their top six a year ago.

Robertson was at No. 2 singles as a freshman and Eagles coach Slade Snowden hopes he’s ready for the jump to No. 1.

“For him being so young, the mental aspect is the most important aspect,” Snowden said. “That’s hard to coach and teach. But with age comes with maturity. Hopefully, that’s what we’re looking at with him, added skills and mental toughness.

“He’s got a good swing pattern and technical ability. He’s not the biggest kid. But you look at some of the best athletes and they’re not always the biggest.”

Joining Robertson in singles play will be returnees Tanner Barnes, Garrett Jarvis and Mark Meads.

“Mark is  a senior who was No. 5 last year,” Snowden said. “He has worked his way up.”

Snowden thinks Barnes gained valuable experience a year ago, when he was promoted from the jayvee to the varsity late in the season.

“Tanner stepped up when we had a player get hurt,” Snowden said. “He was able to play some No. 6 singles for us, after being on jayvee most of the year. He’s been putting in more time, getting in more tournaments and I’m looking for consistency and better tennis from him.” 

Snowden is open-minded about how his doubles teams will shape up. 

“It will be interesting to see how it plays out. We’ll adjust during the course of the year,” he said. “We may have some ideas we think might work. We’ll see who meshes well. I’ve got some taller players who may not be singles players, but potentially could play doubles,” he said. 

“I’m not one who necessarily goes straight down the line (1-6) for doubles. It will be about what is best for the team. I could go 1-3, 2-4, 5-6 or start at 1-4 and spread it out. A lot of times it might be about how best can we strategize our doubles teams to be most effective.”

Nixa debuts Tuesday at home versus Rogersville.

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