Kernels’ only senior helps first-year coachAs the new head coach for the Mitchell boys’ tennis team this season, Pat Moller said there was one player who really helped him through his first year of coaching.
By: Claire Meador, The Daily Republic
As the new head coach for the Mitchell boys’ tennis team this season, Pat Moller said there was one player who really helped him through his first year of coaching.
No. 3 singles player and lone senior Taylor Moore was the only returning player to the team this season and the player who had the most experience. Moller said it would have been a lot harder for him if it hadn’t been for Moore.
“I’ve had Taylor in class and he was actually on one of my seventh-grade basketball teams, so I kind of knew what he was like and he knew what I was like and I was glad that I had somebody the team that I had somewhat of a relationship with ahead of time,” Moller said.
“Once the season got closer I called him up on the phone and talked to him about my expectations and what I expected him to do as a senior leader and he hasn’t let me down,” the coach said.
“He’s really been there for me when I needed him … he was kind of the link between me and the team and things really worked out. He’s been a really good leader for us.”
At the Kernels’ last practice of the season Tuesday, Moore was named the most valuable player and given an award for his efforts during a small ceremony held by Moller and his assistant coaches at Hitchcock Park in Mitchell. Moller talked about how Moore showed strong leadership throughout the season, and really helped him come up with ideas for practice and offered his input whenever he needed advice.
Moore said he did feel like a leader being the only senior on the team, but felt it was more a mentor role.
“I had to take a leadership role, but it’s fun and I’m friends with all the kids on the team,” Moore said.
“We are young, but the younger kids fought hard this season and they showed a lot of experience which they really didn’t have so I was proud of them for that.”
Moore laughed when asked if he felt his teammates looked up to him during the season and said he definitely tried to give advice, but wasn’t sure if anyone actually took it.
“A few kids listened to what I had to say but mostly they kind of did what they wanted,” he said. “But I tried.”
So far this season, Moore has a 10-4 overall record and a 7-3 record in Eastern South Dakota Conference play. Moore said he feels like he’s had a really strong senior season so far and is excited to play in his last high school state tournament.
Moore has been on the varsity team since his sophomore year of high school and said he’s excited to graduate, but he’ll miss playing tennis.
Next year, Moore will be attending South Dakota State University and plans to major in nursing. He won’t be playing tennis collegiately, but wants to join a club tennis team.
Moller said his team has been inconsistent throughout the year and he isn’t sure about how it will perform at the state tournament Thursday, but he does know that the team wouldn’t be where it’s at right now in the season if it wasn’t for Moore.
“Considering how young we are, if we wouldn’t have had a senior who’s been there and done that, I think that this team would not be as successful as it has been this year. He’s been playing varsity for the last three years so he knows what to expect,” Moller said.
“I certainly will miss him next year,” he said.
“We’ve gotten a lot of good laughs from him and he’s just been a really good calming presence. I can’t imagine what it would have been like without him. Senior leadership is important no matter what sport or activity you’re in and he’s been invaluable to this team.”
NOTES: The following players were also given awards Tuesday night for their efforts throughout the season: most improved: Alex Hegg; sportsmanship award: Tate Crago; most improved junior varsity player: Ryan Solberg.