Fort Dorchester tennis coach Mittie Asbury just wants her share of the FD pool of skilled athletes.
Fort Dorchester has seen many highly recruited athletes lately. The school produced three NFL standouts and several D-1 athletes in sports including baseball, softball, basketball, golf and soccer.
The problem for Asbury is getting athletes of that caliber to come out for tennis.
ďI wish there were more interest in tennis here,Ē she said. ďI wish there was a way we could get the boys into our program. We just need athletes, a football player or whatever. Once I get them here, I can teach them the sport. I just need someone willing to be dedicated to the program and who would work hard.Ē
Itís not that Fort Dorchester doesnít have and hasnít had good tennis players in its program, itís that the school typically doesnít have enough of them to compete against teams with multiple players who are dedicated to tennis year-round.
ďOn this side of town, we just donít have anything as far as public tennis courts so for a lot of these kids tennis isnít their first interest,Ē Asbury said. ďThere is nothing to keep kids interested in it throughout the year because there arenít any programs for them to participate in. There are things at private clubs, but there arenít any programs for the kids who donít live in a subdivision. Most of our kids pick up their racquet when we begin practice and put it down at the end of the season.Ē
Still, the team is no stranger to the playoffs. Last year, the Patriot boys earned the fourth seed for Region 8-AAAA on a tiebreaker after finishing even in the region with Ashley Ridge.
This year, Fort Dorchester has as many eighth-graders on the squad as it does seniors. Providing leadership for the team are seniors Andrew Samuels, Spence Howell and Cam Arnold. Samuels is the teamís No. 2 singles player while Howell plays at No. 3 and Arnold plays at No. 5.
Tommy McManus is the teamís only player who participates in tournaments year-round. He has earned the No. 1 singles spot. Eighth-grader Quincy Moorer is the No. 4 singles player.
Jay Segundo and Zee Segundo are the Patriotsí No. 2 doubles team. Other members of the squad are Christian Lood, Elliot Hamby and Nick Mclean.
ďMy Top 5 return but two of them only played doubles last year and the next five are brand new,Ē Asbury said. ďI hope we get better as the season goes along. Iíve already seen some improvement and we havenít been able to get that much practice in because of the weather. That makes it hard when you have so many players who have never played before. But the kids are hanging in there and doing a good job.Ē
Fort Dorchesterís next home game is March 31 when the Patriots host James Island at 4 p.m.