The Carthage girls tennis team has been getting plenty of miles in to start the 2021 season.
The Comets have been practicing at other schools to start the upcoming campaign while their courts are resurfaced. Carthage has conducted practices at Indian River and Copenhagen while they wait to get their home back. It’s been an interesting start of the sports calendar for some of the veteran players.
“It’s been crazy for us because the schedule changes week-to-week,” senior first doubles player Anna Scott said. “It’s just a different feeling (practicing at another court).”
Carthage offered its facilities when Lowville’s courts needed renovations in the 2016 season and now Comets coach Erin Gallagher is taking advantage of the help while they wait for the green light from the school.
“The other coaches (at opposing schools) have been awesome.” Gallagher said. “The tennis coaches in this league are just the nicest around.”
Carthage’s program is also grateful that they don’t have to play all of their matches on the road like Beaver River does this season due to limit court availability.
However, it’s just one more hurdle for the Comets, who are slated to play their first match of the season 3:45 p.m. Thursday at Watertown High School. Carthage will play its first team matches since it played Chittenango on Oct. 8, 2019 in a Section 3 tournament match.
“It’s great that tennis is back because it feels like a sense of normalcy is back,” senior first doubles player Madilin Santamour said.
The three Lewis County-based schools of Lowville, Beaver River and Copenhagen played a partial season in the fall while Jefferson County schools South Jefferson, Immaculate Heart Central, Watertown, General Brown and Indian River played matches in the six-week Fall Sports II window during the early spring. But Carthage didn’t field a team in either girls tennis or cross country during that time period.
“It was a little disappointing that other schools got to play and we didn’t, but I’m still excited for this season and we get to play,” Scott said.
The Comets didn’t let time pass idly while other teams played. They participated in intramurals during the fall and the spring, which allowed some players to try out the sport without the pressure of playing in a match.
“It allowed people to test the waters while they were on the court,” Santamour said.
The extended layoff may have been hard on Gallagher and her players. However, they handled all of the changing rules with a positive attitude, Gallagher said.
“They just rolled with everything and didn’t complain about anything.” she said. “The kids were awesome the whole year about the changes.”
Both Scott and Santamour are seniors leading a younger Comets team.
The state has added a state team tournament this season, scheduled for October, allowing for the NYSPHSAA to host team state championships alongside the individual state championships that already exist.
“Being a smaller sport at our school, (the state team tournament) gives us a chance to go far in a tournament,” Santamour said.
Outlook: Indian River won the league title in the last non-COVID season of 2019. However, there are a lot of unknowns in this season. South Jefferson has a new coach in Sarah Morris, who took over in the Fall Sports II season for Pat Bassett.
Coach: Erin Gallagher
2019 record: 7-3 league and overall
Coach: Rick Snow
2019 record: 1-10
Indian River Warriors
Coach: Alyssa Sidmore
2019 record: 8-3
South Jefferson Spartans
Coach: Sarah Morris
2019 record: 8-5, 5-7
Coach: Brian Morrison
2019 record: 2-8.
Outlook: Copenhagen went 10-0 in the last full season and was unbeaten before Lewis County schools halted their seasons. However, the Golden Knights will not have a team this season. There are also plenty of unknowns in this division.
Beaver River Beavers
Coach: Rachael Moshier
2019 record: 4-6
General Brown Lions
Coach: Will Covey
2019 record:5-5, 5-4
Lowville Red Raiders
Coach: Jim Rhodes
2019 record: 4-6