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EHS boys' tennis starts season Thursday with new head coach

Will Huppert is one of a handful of returning lettemen on the Ellsworth boys' tennis team this spring.

The Ellsworth High School boys' tennis team begins its 2014 season Thursday in a non-conference dual meet at Black River Falls. They will also compete in the Baldwin-Woodville Invitational on Saturday.

The Panthers have a new head coach as David Boigenzahn takes over the program reigns from Mary Rumpel. Boigenzahn is a teacher in the district and played tennis at EHS while in school (Class of '07). The Panthers finished 2-5 overall and in the Middle Border Conference last season. The two league wins were the most for EHS in league play in several seasons.

Ellsworth has just a handful of returning lettermen. Senior No. 1 singles players Will Huppert is one of them along with the the doubles team of senior Tate Stewart and junior Eliot Balzer. Also back is sophomore Zac Manor, who played doubles for the Panthers last season.

Boigenzahn said that having Huppert on the young, 12-person team has been a big asset. 

"It's huge to have a player who can demonstrate the right way to do things and who the kids respect," Boigenzahn said.  "It's like having a second set of eyes on the team."

The tennis skills and experience level for the 2014 Panther netter team ranges from little to none. But Boiganzahn has been impressed by the team's athletic ability.

"They come in at the basic level, some of them having swung a tracket for the very time in their very first practice," Boiganzahn said. "But very they're very athletic and they're learing things quick too. They took a big jump in improvement just from the first day of practice to the third day and I think if our young players stick with the sport, they're going to develop into good players."

Boigenzahn said reasonable team goals include winning a few MBC dual meet wins and advancing some players from the subsectional to sectional meet.