Holden Koons was expected to make a mark this season and the Dallastown freshman has not disappointed for the Wildcats.
The No. 1 player on the Wildcats' boys' tennis team has played a big role in the club's 14-2 season and undefeated record in division play. Koons, the son of head coach Mark Koons, took over the No. 1 role this season after John Schmitt graduated at the end of last year.
Koons has taken to the No. 1 role quickly, winning every match he has played with Dallastown this season. He also took home most valuable player honors at the State College tennis invitational.
Alas, the freshman’s success isn’t much of a surprise. Koons is ranked second among freshman players in the state and is a four-star recruit, according to the Tennis Recruiting Network.
“(Holden has) been competing on a national level since he was 8 years old,” Mark Koons said. “So he has a lot of tournament experience. A lot of competitive experience. He was really looking forward this year to being part of a team. It’s been very important to him to see the team do well, along with his individual efforts.
“I think high school tennis has been very good for him. He’s having a lot of fun.
The Dallastown team as a whole has benefited from a roster that has youth along with veteran leadership. Tyler Lilie, David Trimmer, Sachin Venkatesh and Hunter Jones make up some of the more experienced members of the team.
All four players competed in last year’s YAIAA tournament and Lilie was part of the doubles team that won the league’s class AAA doubles crown.
Mark Koons said having those players around Holden and the younger members of the team is good both on and off the court.
“(Holden) has some good role models on the team that he looks up to,” the coach said. “We have three freshmen in our top-nine. All the upperclassmen have done a good job of incorporating the freshmen into the team and making them feel welcome.”
The YAIAA tournament will begin on Friday and Koons is the No. 1 seed in this year's tournament. The Wildcat players won the singles and doubles crowns last year, but for coach Koons the emphasis isn’t on the results as much as it is on production.
The Dallastown coach wants to see his players get better over the course of the league tournament and prepare for what comes after it.
“Our goal is to use the league and district tournaments to keep taking that next step forward,” Mark Koons said. “Keep improving on the things we need to improve on and be ready for our district team match coming up in a couple weeks.”
If you go
What: YAIAA tennis singles and doubles tournaments
- First two rounds are at 2 p.m. Friday at Red Lion (Class AAA) and South Western (Class AA).
- Quarterfinals begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at South Western with semifinals to follow.
- Championship and third-place matches are at 4 p.m. Monday at South Western.
- First two rounds are at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Red Lion (Class AAA) and South Western (Class AA)
- Semifinals, championship and third-place matches are at 3 p.m. Wednesday at South Western.