Middle School Golf and Tennis Teams Move to The Fall


Tennis players (from the left) Aidan Merchant, Dev Katarya, Smith Easton, and Caitlin Pressly discussing a point with fall leaves present. Image Credit: Jennifer Speir

This school year, the Westminster Middle School Golf and Tennis teams pushed their seasons from the spring to the fall, mainly due to time and other sports conflicts.

The Middle School Golf and Tennis teams are composed of 7th and 8th graders from both genders. Each year, a tryout takes place to secure a position on the team. Because the sports moved to the fall, tryouts were also held at the beginning of the school year. 

What was the reason behind this change? Middle School Girls Tennis Coach Jennifer Speir says having Middle School, JV, and Varsity teams play matches and practice during the same season sacrificed match time for the Middle School team. “We used to have [only] sixteen courts total, six in the back of the campus, and that became a parking lot,” says Speir. “We either give up Middle School time for matches or simply have little time for practice.” 

The lack of space definitely impacted Middle School Tennis. When she started coaching the team last spring season, Speir realized there was no time to warm up, play practice matches, and work on skills. “Last year, when I came into this job, we tried to make it work as a coach,” says Speir. “But you could barely warm up, play challenge matches or work on a skill.” 

Middle School Golf Coach Andy Dunn also had similar reasons for golf moving to the fall. Course availability was always challenging, as most golfers play in the spring and summer. Switching the season to the fall enabled more practice time on the golf course while being less crowded. Second, he said courses are in better condition. Third, there is less conflict in Middle School sports between the fall and spring. Due to the amount of Middle School sports in the spring versus in the fall, Middle School Tennis and Golf changed to accommodate the number of sports in the spring.  

One benefit to tennis and golf changing to the fall is students have a wider selection of sports in the fall to pick from. Tennis Coach Jennifer Speir says, “students have more choice. There are more sports in the fall that are selective.” 

Another benefit to tennis and golf moving to the fall is players are in excellent form. Golf Coach Andy Dunn states most of his players are in superior form as they spent their entire summer practicing. “They are coming off the summer where they have been playing a lot of golf where their game is in really good shape.” He also noted the playing condition is better. “The courses are in such good shape. In the spring, we go out, and the golf course is yellow. Now the courses are green lush and in great shape.” 

Both golf and tennis coaches have already seen the benefits of moving the season for their players. Coach Speir says she has been able to build personal connections with each member of the team. “I feel like I have gotten to know the players more and have gotten more time to watch.” 

Coach Andy Dunn says players adjusted nicely due to good course conditions. “Players have adapted really well because the courses are in such good shape.” Due to good condition, he says that players understand the game of golf. “There really learning the game of golf. Before it was, go out and play. Now they are really learning how to manage themselves on the golf course.”