Big wins and bruised shins


Josie Preece

Senior Codi Guerrieri hits her first serve against Hershey on March 26. North Platte placed second as a team in this home meet.

This season, the girls’ tennis team has been thwarted several times by weather. The girls were forced to practice indoors on makeshift courts for the first three weeks of the season. “This spring weather has been a challenge,” said coach Jeff Barner, “We only had three outdoor practices this year before our first matches with McCook.” Despite the tough conditions however, Barner said he has seen some great leadership from his team.

Senior Codi Guerrieri has been playing on varsity since her freshman year, and is sad that this will be her last year of tennis competitions. She has played singles matches for most of her high school career, but this year she’s played with partners in doubles. “We, as coaches, have asked her to try her hand in doubles for the benefit of the team. She has been open to it and working hard at the change,” Barner said.

At the suggestion of his team leaders, Barner decided to implement a “big sister and little sister program” so that the younger players could learn from the older ones. “I’m going to miss [tennis] a lot, I’ve always wanted to be able to have a freshman to teach what I know, so that they can carry that up,” Guerrieri said. Barner says that this has been a great success, “We have seen a faster development of our young players because of this time spent with a mentor,” he said.

Freshman Jada Mae Wheeler is Guerrieri’s “little sister” and she said that she’s grown significantly over the season. “The coaches can’t be there all the time, so it’s way better to have a player with experience to help you improve.” she said. “I’ve improved in everything this season, and [Codi] is never scared to tell me if I’m doing something wrong and then, if I am doing something wrong, she can help me fix it,” said Wheeler.

One thing that Guerrieri hopes to fix in her game this season is her reaction to mistakes. “When I know I shouldn’t have done something, I hit my racket into my leg. I need to stop,” she said. Either way, it’s easy to see that Guerrieri’s effort on the team this year has helped everyone around her to improve. “Codi has natural athletic ability and has worked hard to develop her tennis skills. This has been a key in the development of the team this year,” said Barner.

Even though Barner was concerned by the early, rushed start, he was impressed by the work that was put in indoors, “[Guerrieri] took leadership of warm-ups and conditioning at the start of practice. It is always better when the team leader sets the standard for conditioning than when it comes from a coach,” he said.