Tennis team hopeful for Big Sky Championship

(Photo by Bryan Butterfield)
Simon Unger hits the ball in a match last season

After a promising preseason in September and October, the Weber State University men’s tennis team is gearing up for a potential championship year starting in January 2013.

The new-look Wildcats kicked off their fall preseason and competitive debut of new head coach Brad Ferreira with success at their own WSU Fall Invitational, placing six in the top three across the four brackets.

The Wildcats’ freshman duo of Todd Fought and Sanjay Goswani kicked off their own WSU debuts with a 9-7 win over Idaho State University’s team of Charles Norman and Nate Gross in the championship match of the ‘A’ doubles bracket.

Ferreira said he is happy about the preseason showing and is looking forward to much more success in the coming regular season.

“We plan on being very competitive starting next January,” Ferreira said. “We lost a few good players, but we worked hard and were able to recruit many excellent freshmen, a couple of which were able to play in the preseason and showed excellent ability and perseverance. Overall, the boys were expected to do well, but I think they did even better than expected.”

WSU will add another freshman to its young roster this January. Jakub Gewart, 18, a highly recruited athlete from Poland who started playing tennis when he was 7 years old, has committed to WSU. Ferreira said he expects Gewart will bring a lot to an already solid team.

“Jakub will play for us beginning in January,” Ferreira said. “He is an excellent tennis player and will be a great addition to a great team. He will definitely bring a lot to the table. He may even anchor the team in the No. 1 position.”

Ferreira said he was excited and honored about the opportunity to build upon last season and what the previous coach — Jared Burnham, who coached for eight seasons — left behind.

“Jared did a really good job here,” Ferreira said. “I am honored to be the new coach and hope to continue to build the tradition of a strong tennis team. It’s very exciting right now. We are working hard with the little time we have to do a lot of drills and weight training in preparation for the season. Their team chemistry is extremely high right now. I think we all expect to make it to the Big Sky.”

The Wildcats will begin their much-anticipated 2013 season with two in-state rivals. The team will travel to Brigham Young University on Friday, Jan. 18, and then to the University of Utah the next day. The team’s home debut will be the following day against ISU at Edmond Courts in Ogden at 10 a.m. The Wildcats will be home for at least one tournament each weekend in February.