Braves’ girls set for success with Barron
GLADSTONE — A new coach and a new season awaits for the Gladstone girls tennis team, which begins its season Monday at Kingsford at 11 a.m. EDT.
First-year coach Ryan Barron steps in to replace Halley Reichel, who stepped down at the end of last season. Barron, who took the job in June, is excited to get back into coaching. He coached boys and girls varsity golf and boys junior high basketball at Big Bay de Noc from 2010 to 2017, boys jayvee tennis at Negaunee in 2010 and robotics in Gladstone since 2017.
“I was hired in June,” he said. “I’ve wanted to get back into coaching and this opportunity came about. I am looking forward to working with the athletes again.”
The Braves lost last year’s Division 1 All-State doubles tandem of Sydney Herioux and Taylor Trudeau to graduation, but still return many solid players.
“Key returning players are senior Andie Balenger at No. 1 singles and junior Alaina Trudeau at No. 2 singles,” Barron said. “(Our) No. 1 doubles pair is senior Olivia Saari and junior Marnnea LaFave.”
The Braves visit Marquette for a meet Thursday and then visit Escanaba Aug. 26 before hosting Menominee in their first home meet Aug. 27.
“We are looking forward to a successful season,” Barron said. “We have a great group of girls with tremendous work ethic. They make it easy to coach.”
Barron says it’s a positive that most of the girls on the team are multi-sport athletes, while also noting their unselfishness.
“Many of the girls are multi-sport athletes — which makes them competitive, dedicated, responsible, and sports smart — traits that every coach looks for,” he said. “This group of girls is never focused on their individual needs, but what is best for the entire team. We have lots of potential. Everyone on the team is a crucial component in our tennis program. I am very anxious to get the ball rolling to see how the season plays out.”
Aug. 19 — at Kingsford
Aug. 22 — at Marquette
Aug. 26 — at Escanaba
Aug. 27 — Menominee
Aug. 28 — at Negaunee
Aug. 29 — at Westwood invite
Sept. 3 — Escanaba
Sept. 4 — at Gwinn
Sept. 11 — Kingsford
Sept. 12 — Gwinn
Sept. 16 — Westwood
Sept. 17 — at Iron Mountain
Sept. 23 — at Ishpeming
Sept. 24 — at West Iron County
Sept. 30 — at Menominee
Oct. 2 — GNC meet at Marquette
Oct. 9 — U.P. Finals at Kingsford