Spring sports start next week, but for the first time in over 10 years, there will not be a JV tennis program. Last year, approximately 60 athletes in the boys’ and girls’ JV tennis program combined came out for the sport at Sentinel alone.
Missoula County Public Schools offered the following statement: “The MCPS tennis programs are being restructured to afford players more court time, which will allow for increased focus on the fundamentals of tennis and developing a strong program.
Approximately 16 to 18 per gender from each high school will be selected through tryouts to comprise each schools’ team. Each school will have a single team, which will compete only at the varsity level.”
According to head tennis coach Jenn Keintz, the initial policy change was prompted by the construction at Fort Missoula, which will be taking the courts out of commission for the spring season--at least for all match play. Big Sky and Valley Christian will continue to practice there if possible.
“Without the courts at Fort Missoula, all five local high schools will play their matches at Playfair this year, which cuts the amount of time JV would have to practice to approximately one day a week--maybe,” Keintz said. “Unfortunately, that does not allow for a legitimate program, which is unfair to those kids.”