The Tiger tennis program could have a great season in the coming months, but players will have to be self-motivated to shine.
Glen Rose has relatively few matches scheduled before the 7-3A Tournament on March 27.
"We just have to make the most of our time on the tennis court," said coach Greg Garrison. "I can't watch all the kids at the same time, so it comes down to each player deciding how good they want to get. We have a lot of drills we do, plus match play within our team. Especially with the more experienced players, we're focusing on shot placement and keeping the ball out of the middle."
"I can only take eight boys and eight girls to a tournament, so they have to do what it takes to make that group. We play matches to decide those ranks."
Seniors Evan Burns and Jacob Turk took second in district to advance to regionals.
"A strength of those guys would be Burns' ground strokes and Turk's serves," Garrison said. "They need to work on their crosscourt and lob shots to extend points."
Senior Gray Dulcie finished third in district a season ago.
"His game has picked up tremendously because he played during the summer with the USTA," Garrison said. "We look forward to seeing what he can do this year with all the work he's gotten in."
Senior Angel Guia placed fourth in district last year.
"Angel is a returning singles player for us," the coach said. "His game has picked up a lot as he puts more time in. Angel has worked on placing his shots so he can be on the offensive."
Senior Max Albro and junior Colton Bumpas will play doubles.
"They are returning to the program after some time away," Garrison said. "It may take them a while to find their groove, but they're both athletic kids."
Seniors Blake Kramer and Marquis Holder return in doubles.
"Those guys did well last year," Garrison said. "They need to improve their second serves."
Senior Caleb Ukle and sophomores Alex Cocita, Derek Kramer and Carter Garrison are also in the mix.
"Ukle has the ground best strokes of that group and is continuing to work on his placement," Garrison said. "Derek has some good ground strokes and serves. Alex and Carter are pretty close to him (in skill)."
On the girls' side, seniors Kelsie Fleetwood and Shelby Lacey took third in district last season.
"They barely missed out on regionals last year," Garrison said. "They have a lot of things going besides tennis, so every bit of time I get to work with them is valuable. They are working hard to get to the regional tournament. They have good strokes and are working on their placement."
Senior Abby Cole and sophomore Grace Payne are returning girls' singles players.
"Abby and Grace have both come a long way," Garrison said. "Abby is working on her serves and her backhand, while Grace is focused on her backhand. They hit the ball pretty well."
Garrison noted the addition of sophomores Madison Morrow, Lexi Crabtree and Kalli Crabtree.
"They are new, but I think they could help out right away," he said.
Heading into the season, Garrison said the varsity lineup had one opening in girls' doubles and two spots for mixed doubles.
Looking to the district landscape, Garrison said Alvarado has the edge because of its junior high program and a lot of tennis-only athletes. He also said Stephenville has a solid program.
The Glen Rose Invitational Tournament will serve up this Saturday, and where the Tigers go from here is up to them.
"The kids who are interested are going to do it the right way," Garrison said. "Our practices alone aren't enough time for them to get where they need to be."