Tennis team acquires new head coach

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The tennis team acquired two new coaches this season. Coach Mason Hickel replaced previous coach Bryce McClung as Head Coach and 2013 graduate Megan Bird was offered the position of Assistant Coach.

Hickel and his family moved to Hays from Claflin recently, and got hired less than a month ago.

“We had been going to a church here in Hays that we loved, driving back and forth from Claflin to Hays,” Hickel said. “We moved here to be closer and to get more involved in the church.”

Hickel is 25 years of age and his involvement with tennis reaches back to the early years of his youth.

“I have been playing since I was around the age of a second grader,” Hickel said. “We started tennis camp at that age and I have loved the game since.”

Even after four successful years of tennis at his local high school, Hickel’s love for the sport turned into a long term affair.

“My passion for the game and me always wanting to be a coach of some sort led to this job,” Hickel said. “I love being around the game and this has been a dream come true.”

Even though this is Hickel’s first coaching job, he’s not afraid to dream big.

“I would love to get a full squad to state this year,” Hickel said. “I know it being my first year and last year we only sent one player, but that is my hope.”

Being able to send players to State is a coach’s ultimate goal, Hickel is looking forward to other aspects of coaching as well.

“Right now, I’m just looking forward to the matches,” Hickel said. “I can’t wait to travel, get to know the team better and to finally watch them get out and play matches.”

Hickel believes there is a lot of talent and potential on the girls’ team this season, from the seniors to freshmen.

“These girls have dedicated themselves to working hard and becoming better,” Hickel said. “I am very excited for what this season holds.”

Hickel hopes to enforce etiquette, hard work, positivity, and leadership on and off the court.

“I am absolutely loving this experience,” Hickel said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better team to start with, and I have a great support system at home.”