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Perry, Gaels ready to build

Messenger photos by Britt Kudla: St. Edmond boys tennis returning letterwinners for 2021 are (left to right) Lucas Kornder and Emanuel Perry. Not pictured: Joseph Li.

Joe Perry wants to see the St. Edmond boys tennis program return to prominence.

But the first-year head coach knows that it is going to take time — and a decision by others to join those currently out for this season.

Three juniors, two sophomores and a freshman comprise the current St. Edmond roster for Perry as the Gaels are set to begin the season Tuesday at Webster City.

“I’m very grateful for the boys that are out,” Perry said. “At the same time, I really hope others see just how much fun we are having and how rewarding picking up tennis can be. It really is a quick-learn sport and you can see a lot of growth almost immediately.

“Hopefully, we can continue to add to the roster and really gain some traction.”

Joseph Li has played in several tournaments around the country over the past year. The junior is joined by classmates Emanuel Perry and Lucas Kornder along with sophomores Drew Stanek and Casten Wachloz.

Freshman Drew Anderson completes the roster.

“Joseph just got back from a tournament in Dallas where he was competing against some high-level players,” Perry said. “He’s really played a lot of tennis over the years. I can remember playing with him and when he first picked up the sport and he has put in a lot of time and effort to improve.

“He’s always at the club with Manny Flores working to better himself. He has high expectations.”

With the start of the season, the Gaels have taken advantage of the conditions when they have been favorable outside.

“It’s gone well so far,” Perry said. “We’re making good use of the weather and working hard towards our first meet. I’ve seen big signs of improvement and a willingness to learn.

“Our goals are to keep improving with each practice and each meet, and earn some wins whenever we can. We are going to be competitive and do everything we can to succeed.”

The Gaels play their first four meets of the year on the road before hosting Ballard on April 20. Class 1A districts are scheduled for May 12.

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