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PREP TENNIS

Rocklin boys tennis program returns a familiar coach

Eckenburg back at helm
By: Joshua Gutierrez/Placer Herald Correspondent
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With a handful of sports returning to the outdoors for the spring season, Dale Eckenburg will resume a post he held four years ago as the head coach of Rocklin varsity boys tennis.

Eckenburg, who has continually run the varsity girls team for 15 years, was head coach of the varsity boys team for seven years before resigning. With a program he felt he could improve, Eckenburg will coach a group of athletes with whom he’s had no previous experience.

“I haven’t seen a lot of these kids. The seniors were in eighth grade the last time I coached,” said Eckenburg. “We’re  working on a lot of little things, trying to build structure for the season.”

Leading the crop of talent, and projected No. 1 in the rotation, is Alex Agelakopoulos. The sophomore quickly proved to be a force in the sport after picking up a racket just two years ago.

With an individual practice schedule that at times reaches eight hour a day, Agelakopoulos has quickly jumped ahead in the Thunder order.

“That’s the way it’s has to be done,” said Agelakopoulos, commenting on his personal commitment to the sport.

With confidence in his own ability, he has set a personal goal of not surrendering a single match. That would mean having a perfect season.

Hunter Snidor heads a small group of seniors on the squad. In his fourth year, Snidor leads a team having lost a lot of players due to graduation.

“We lost our top four from last year, and I thought we might struggle going into this season,” said Snidor. “But a lot of our underclassmen are stepping it up. It’ll be interesting to see how we do, but I think we’ll do well.”

Both Snidor and Coach Eckenburg shared similar thoughts on their Sierra Foothill League opponents.

Roseville and Woodcreek are expected to be in a rebuilding effort. Many of their best players graduated last year.  Granite Bay, who won the SFL last season, is expected to return as a top team, with Del Oro fielding a competitive squad as well.

Rocklin will host Nevada Union when the SFL schedule begins March 12 and will have a chance to compete with league champion Granite Bay on March 14.