Two decades after the first iteration of boys' tennis at Aurora High School was discontinued, coach Ray Perry is giving the sport its second life starting this spring.
Aurora's first boys' tennis match of the season ended in a somewhat predictable 8-0 loss to Monett on Tuesday, but Perry says he isn't concerned with the numbers at this point.
"Right now my goal is to focus on learning the basic tennis strokes so we will be more competitive by the end of the season," said the coach. "In the next three or four years, I am hoping to have some of my team qualify for state. We have a lot of great potential with the group we have now, and most of the team [members] are freshmen."
Twelve athletes have joined the team for the first season -- none of whom are seniors -- and interest is likely to grow even more over time, as it has with the girls' team.
"Since we have the new courts [at the high school], and there was definitely an interest from several boys to have a tennis team, we were able to show through surveys that were offered by Mr. Brown and Mr. Spooner that there was enough interest to support having a boys team at this time," said Perry, referring to Aurora principal Rob Brown and athletic director Scott Spooner. "We are thankful to the school board and administration for their response to the surveys."
Perry's thankfulness doesn't stop there, though, as Aurora was fortunate to have a helpful opponent for its first match.
"The boys found out first hand on Tuesday the kind of sportsmanship that we that love the sport of tennis strive for. We were very thankful to have our neighbors in Monett for our first match," said Perry. "Their coaches and team were very helpful and respectful to our players for our very first match."
Scores from that first match were as follows:
Varsity singles1 -- Jason Krantz, 8-0 loss 2 -- Felix Barrientos-Perez, 8-2 loss 3 -- Dalton Hess, 8-0 loss 4 -- Angel Cruz, 8-1 loss 5 -- James Francisco, 8-1 loss 6 -- Xane Shirley, 8-4 loss
Varsity doubles1 -- Krantz/Barrientos-Perez, 8-1 loss 2 -- Hess/Cruz, 8-1 loss 3 -- Francisco/Shirley, 8-1 loss
JV singles1 -- James Rogers, 6-2 loss 2 -- Noah Pruett, 6-0 loss 3 -- Ryan Numbers, 6-1 loss 4 -- Evan Seifried, 6-0 loss
JV doubles1 -- Rogers/Pruett, 6-0 loss 2 -- Numbers/Seifried, 6-0 loss
The Houn' Dawgs will continue to build experience with a match on the road at Nevada on Friday.