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Braves get back in groove

GLADSTONE — The Gladstone Braves are trying to get back into the swing of things as they progress through this tennis season after not having a season a year ago due to COVID-19.

Gladstone, with just 10 players on its roster, is fresh from last Wednesday’s 3-3 tie at Gwinn.

They resume at Escanaba in a make-up match today at 4.

The Braves, represented by eight seniors and two juniors, swept the doubles matches.

Carter Hedman and Sam Sailer won No. 1 doubles, and Dragman Graham and Chad Britton prevailed over Dawson Dolby and Tadem Gaines 6-4, 6-3 in the day’s closest match at No. 2.

“The season is off to a great start,” said coach Ryan Barron. “The weather needs to cooperate, but I guess that’s out of our hands. The majority of the guys are new to the game, but I am seeing huge improvements already. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season brings.”

Senior Rane Caster, entered at No. 1 singles, dropped a 6-3, 6-0 decision to Jared Rowland with classmate Peter Noblet and Sam Jensen falling at No. 2 and 3 singles, respectively.

“The season is going to go fast and furious,” said Barron. “It seems like we have three or four matches every week, so that doesn’t give us a whole lot of practice time. We are going to have to make adjustments on the fly. I have a good group of boys this year. They are hard workers, very coachable and always willing to help one another.”

The Braves’ next home meet is against Marquette Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.

They have invitationals at Kingsford (May 15), and Negaunee (May 22) with the Great Northern Conference meet at Marquette (May 27) and Upper Peninsula Division 1 Finals at Negaunee (June 2).

The remaining schedule:

May 4 — at Escanaba; May 5 — Marquette; May 6 — at Kingsford; May 10 — at Ishpeming; May 11 — at Negaunee; May 12 — Escanaba; May 13 — Menominee; May 15 — Kingsford Invitational; May 20 — Kingsford; May 22 — Negaunee Invitational; May 27 — at Marquette.

June 2 — U.P. D-1 Finals at Negaunee.

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