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Dodgers look to bridge the gap

—Messenger photos by Britt Kudla: Fort Dodge boys tennis returning letterwinners for 2021 are (left to right) Peyton Hays and Luke Vaughan.

After missing out on the 2020 spring season, Fort Dodge head boys tennis coach Tim Johnson was hoping at least decent weather would greet the team this year.

That has been far from the case, but Johnson and his athletes are still excited to have an upcoming season at all.

The Dodgers lost a large senior class from what would’ve been the 2020 campaign, but they return with juniors Luke Vaughan and Peyton Hays.

Joining Vaughan and Hays are classmates Matthias Hippen and Dennis Morgan, along with sophomores Alexander Hansen and Nathan Beekman.

Freshmen Grant Riley, Sebastian Sandvig and Tavian Klass complete the roster.

“As always, spring and tennis don’t seem to cooperate too well (during the preseason),” Johnson said. “Too cold, too wet and too windy, but it’s great to be playing again after taking last year off due to COVID.

“The boys are doing a great job dealing with the elements and limited practices (thus far).”

Vaughan and Hays were both key pieces two seasons ago as freshmen for Fort Dodge.

“When we have had nice weather, it’s been great to be outside,” Johnson said. “Luke and Peyton will lead our team, and I know they are excited to be playing again.”

Several players are out for the first time, but Johnson welcomes the additions.

“We want to improve as players and represent Fort Dodge athletics with pride,” he said. “We also want to be excellent role models for all student-athletes.

“They are a great group of young men, and we look forward to the year.”

The Dodgers open the season against Spencer at home on Monday. Districts are set for May 12.

Johnson will be assisted by Nathan Moore this year.

2021 FORT DODGE BOYS TENNIS

Roster

Juniors — Luke Vaughan, Matthias Hippen, Peyton Hays, Dennis Morgan.

Sophomores — Alexander Hansen, Nathan Beekman.

Freshmen — Grant Riley, Sebastian Sandvig, Tavian Klass.

Schedule

April 5 — Spencer; 8 — at Ankeny Centennial; 13 — at Urbandale; 15 — at Ankeny; 20 — Southeast Polk; 22 — Ames; 26 — at Boone; 27 — at Des Moines Lincoln; 29 — at Mason City.

May 4 — Marshalltown; 6 — Des Moines East; 12 — districts.

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