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Keesecker takes over tennis program

By Keeli Parkey

The Unicoi County High School Blue Devil tennis team includes, pictured from left, head coach Karla Keesecker, Trent Treadway, Aaron Manzanares, Trey Hatcher, Daniel Campbell, Be Hensley and Chase Erwin.; not pictured Noah Starnes and assistant coach Junia Gindlesperger. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)
The Unicoi County High School Blue Devil tennis team includes, pictured from left, head coach Karla Keesecker, Trent Treadway, Aaron Manzanares, Trey Hatcher, Daniel Campbell, Be Hensley and Chase Erwin.; not pictured Noah Starnes and assistant coach Junia Gindlesperger. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)
The Unicoi County High School Lady Devil tennis team includes, pictured from left, head coach Karla Keesecker, Taylor Thomas, Abigail Hensley, Katlyn Higgins, Katherine Altemose, Winter Day-Honeycutt, Natalia Hernandez and Carson Moore; not pictured Brandolyn Thomas and assistant coach Junia Gindlesperger. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)
The Unicoi County High School Lady Devil tennis team includes, pictured from left, head coach Karla Keesecker, Taylor Thomas, Abigail Hensley, Katlyn Higgins, Katherine Altemose, Winter Day-Honeycutt, Natalia Hernandez and Carson Moore; not pictured Brandolyn Thomas and assistant coach Junia Gindlesperger. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

Her players’ positive attitudes have new head coach Karla Keesecker looking forward to the 2017 tennis season.

“It’s exciting to take over the tennis program,” Keesecker told The Erwin Record. “I have a passion for the game of tennis and I love sharing the game with new players. I worked for three years as an assistant, but this won’t be my first time as a head coach. I was the head coach at Sullivan North High School before I came to work at UCHS. So, I’m trying to draw from that previous experience and my experience as an assistant.”

Keesecker said Unicoi County High School tennis players have worked hard during the preseason to prepare for the 2017 schedule.

“The girls and boys teams attended clinics with the teaching pros at Johnson City Country Club during the off season,” she said. “They have been a huge help to the team and I’m excited to see how this will translate to match play as we begin our season.”

Keesecker also said her players’ come to the courts ready to improve.

“I think the strength of our team is in our attitude,” she said. “The team has been willing to try new things this year and they have been on board with a new ideas. They are positive and always willing to learn.”

For the Blue Devils’, lone senior Trent Treadway is expected to lead the way.

“On the boys side, I’m looking for Trent Treadway to make an impact this season,” Keesecker said. “He is the only senior and the players will be looking to him for leadership and experience.

“I’m also excited to see how Chase Erwin and Daniel Campbell do this season. They have improved since last year and I think this will be a breakout season for them. … Aaron Manzanares is one of the returning players from last year. I’m really proud of the way he has already improved this season and I’m looking forward to his continued growth.”

Three new players – Trey Hatcher, Noah Starnes and Benjamin Hensley – have joined the team for the 2017 season.

“I’m so excited to see how much they learn and experience this season,” Keesecker said.

It’s always fun to see how far a player goes from the beginning of the season to the end.”

Leading the charge for the Lady Devils will be junior Winter Day-Honeycutt.

“She is going from the sixth seed last year to the number-one seed this year,” Keesecker said. “She has worked extremely hard in the off season and I’m excited to see her growth this season.”

Three returning players are also expected to make an impact this season.

“I’m also looking forward to seeing how Carson Moore, Abby Hensley and Taylor Thomas do this season,” Keesecker said. “I feel they gained a lot of experience last year.”

New players have also joined the program.

“The next player to watch for this season is Katlyn Higgins,” Keesecker said. “She is a freshman and I feel she will make an impact once she has some experience under her belt. The rest of our team are beginners to tennis and I will be looking forward to seeing their growth. Those ladies are Katherine Altemose, Natalia Hernandez and Brandolyn Thomas.”

Junia Gindlesperger will be the program’s assistant coach this season.

The Blue Devils and Lady Devils tennis teams traveled to Sullivan South on Monday, March 20.

The Lady Devils were scheduled to host Happy Valley on Tuesday, March 21, following The Erwin Record’s press deadline.

Both teams will go back on the road on Tuesday, March 28, at Johnson County.