Aiming to succeed
Jesse Nuckolls witnessed the rise of the boys tennis program late last season.
The third-year coach saw his team come together at the right time, snag one of the last spots for the team playoffs and compete with the top team in the league during the regional tournament. With most of the team back this year, Nuckolls can’t help but feel excited about the Greenwave’s potential when it takes the court next week for the first time.
“These are the guys who have been here. They love tennis,” Nuckolls said of his nine returners. “They listen and want to play. They’re competitive on the court. I’m excited for that. With tennis being a lifelong sport, these kids are learning that tennis continues on past the regular season. They’re going to be playing it the rest of their life. You can see them getting better and love the game.”
Already two weeks into practice, Nuckolls is seeing improvement. If Fallon wants to repeat last year’s success — and even go further in the playoffs — it will rely on the leadership of its six seniors, including five returners.
“I already know we’re going to be a better team,” said Nuckolls, who’s assisted by John Moore and Tom Nagishima. “There’s no doubt about it. The question is if it translates into the win/loss column.”
Blake Malcovich, Myles Getto, Josh Mikulak, Thomas Jamieson and Ryan Lords return for their final year with the green and white while senior Jamison Ucci is new to the team. Juniors include Alex Perazzo, Compton Lords and Trent Nuckolls, and Ben Jamieson is the lone sophomore.
For Thomas Jamieson, he’s hoping to make the best out of his final year with the Greenwave. The goal aside from improvement is to advance as many to the state tournament in October.
“We have a pretty good team,” he said. “We have a doubles team that we think will go to state. We have a couple singles that could go to state.”
Jamieson returns as the team’s top singles player and Perazzo will be the No. 2 singles player followed by Nuckolls.
Coach Nuckolls is excited about his singles players this year and is anxious to see them compete next week against South Tahoe and Truckee, two of the best teams in the region. The success of the singles players begins with Jamieson as the senior will be looked upon to lead the group.
“Even this year, I’ve seen him improve. You can tell he’s improved a lot. I’m excited to see what’s going to happen with him,” Nuckolls said of Jamieson.
Perazzo has already been dubbed the team’s workhorse and his energy affects the team.
“That guy will run down every ball. He’s resilient,” Nuckolls said. “It’s almost like he doesn’t run out of energy when he plays. He’s going to have a good year, too. He’s going to have some challenges himself. He’s going to play some tough competition. He’s my most consistent tennis player out there. He’s definitely one of those guys who will keep playing.”
Trent Nuckolls had a tough season as a sophomore but coach Nuckolls said he made improvements from last season and hopes that will translate into a better win/loss record this year.
“I know he’s going to have more wins than he had last year,” Nuckolls said. “He’s definitely improved. As long as he maintains his calmness and his head, he’s going to do great.”
The doubles teams will ride on the experience of their seniors, which starts with Malcovich and Getto as the No. 1 team.
“I have a lot of high expectations for them. They’re a very good team,” Nuckolls said. “I think they’re going to make a run at state this year. We’ll see how it goes. They’re playing excellent.”
Nuckolls likes Mikulak’s athletic ability and Compton Lords’ attitude and shot style. He looks forward to the duo working together this season, giving Fallon two strong doubles teams.
“(Josh) is another person who takes instruction well and tries really hard to improve,” Nuckolls said. “(Compton) has been playing excellent. He’s got a funny and good attitude on the team. Everyone enjoys playing with him. The style is really unique but it works for him. It tends to frustrate the other teams with some of the shots he has. He’s perfected some of those shots.”
Ben Jamieson and Ryan Lords will compete on the No. 3 doubles team and have also improved since last season. Nuckolls said Jamieson’s forehand stroke is better and he should get more playing time this season. As for Lords, Nuckolls likes his attitude and is poised to stand out.
“His heart’s in the right place. He likes to challenge the upper players,” Nuckolls said of Jamieson. “(Ryan) is fun to be around. I enjoy having him on our team. He’s going to do much better than last year. I can already see it in practices. What’s great about a lot of players is most of them are from last year. I’ve seen every one of them improve.”