A small, yet determined roster will take the court for the Linfield Wildcats this spring under the tutelage of longtime men’s coach Carl Swanson.
“The program is continuing to develop and train by our championship principles that have led to past success on the court,” said Swanson, who starts his 14th season at Linfield. “The goal is to go out every day and be the best player, person and teammate possible.”
Five players return from last season’s club that completed the 2013 season without the satisfaction of tasting victory.
“We have to acknowledge that there is a gap between our depth of talent and the top teams in the conference, yet the goal remains winning matches and putting ourselves in position to compete for championships,” Swanson said. “We will accept the challenges and with no seniors on the roster and room to develop and get valuable match play and travel on a regular basis, our young players will represent Linfield in a positive manner and strive to be at the top of their games each and every match day.”
Returning for the Wildcats are Micah Roos, Lukas Kleinman, Tim Hawkins and Nick Konen.
Roos made big strides last season, and according to Swanson, is “becoming a more complete player that will present multiple challenges to his competitors with his all-court game and weapons.”
Kleinman, a lefty who likes to play an aggressive game, “just continues to get better and better and lead by example in terms of his grit and determination to win,” said Swanson.
Hawkins has the talent, weapons and desire to be a high-level player in the NWC, said Swanson. He and Roos combined for a 4-2 doubles record a year ago.
“Tim and Micah had some very impressive wins in doubles last year and they will be a threat in our lineup this year. Tim will look to translate his doubles success into his singles play.”
Konen saw limited action as a freshman last year yet is considered by Swanson as “the ultimate team player, a hard worker who has good versatility and a never-quit attitude that serves him well. I look forward to his progress as he gains more match experience.”
Newcomers Alec Wisthoff and Kelsey Rosborough will be tested early in their careers.
“Wisthoff is a smart, thoughtful and very coachable player that is an excellent teammate and his variety and resilience and adaptability coupled with his positive attitude will allow his to showcase his talent as a freshman,” said Swanson. “Rosborough is a tough as they come, a great fighter on the court, and he has a great skill set to back up his winner-take-all mindset. As a freshman, he has a bright future in front of him and he will be a force in singles and doubles this year for us.”
The Wildcats open the season Feb. 21 against defending Northwest Conference champion Whitman.