Quincy tennis finishes season

May 15—QUINCY — The Quincy High School tennis team ended its season Saturday at the boys Caribou Trail League championships and the girls District 6 championships in Quincy. Both were qualifiers to advance in state competition, and the Jacks failed to send any players to the next round.

Co-coach Rollie Ronish said the Quincy players improved a lot throughout the season and had a pretty good tournament.

"We were focusing on culture, wanting to go all in and help each other, and have fun," Ronish said. "And I think we were really able to achieve that this year."

Ronish and his wife Antonia coach the boys and girls teams respectively. This is their second year coaching together, he said, and they set the goal of building the foundation for a team that didn't have much experience.

The first round of the CTL tournament was May 9, with Bob Bensch in singles and the doubles team of Saidt Alvarez and Victor Torres qualifying for Saturday's consolation bracket. In the District 6 girls tournament, Caia Williams qualified for the singles consolation bracket, along with the doubles team of Sophia Navarro and Vanessa Quintero. Ronish said the tournament demonstrated how far Navarro and Quintero had come.

"They played pretty hard. On Thursday, we were pretty proud of them because they beat a couple of teams they had lost to just a week ago," he said. "So they put together a really good match."

Williams was playing in an unfamiliar position and still made it to Saturday.

"She did really well too, because she didn't play a lot of singles during the year, but she wanted to give it a shot for the tournament," Ronish said. "She beat one of the top-seeded girls from Cascade on Thursday just to make it to Saturday. She had some big matches on Thursday."

Tennis is a game that rewards experience, and Ronish cited Alvarez and Torres as examples.

"This is only their second year playing tennis," he said. "I've been telling them all year, in the CTL first boys doubles is a tough gig as the newbie."

Torres and Alvarez faced players who placed in previous state tournaments, a big challenge for less-experienced players.

"They have the right idea and they know what they're supposed to do, they just haven't hit the ball enough," Ronish said. "I've told them several times this season, 'If you go out and hit 10,000 balls, you're probably going to be able to keep up with these guys.' But that's just not realistic. In tennis, if your opponent is more experienced, it's hard to overcome."

But they met the challenge, he said.

"Those two have improved so much this season," he said.

Bensch, a senior, was the team captain, and Ronish said his leadership was important to the Jacks' improvement.

"He was able to make everybody around him so much better. He's a really great captain and a really great team member," Ronish said.

Bensch took the time to work with other teammates, particularly Torres and fellow singles player Cody Kennedy.

"Bobby worked with them a ton and worked with them all the time. He was a big piece in helping our team throughout the season," Ronish said.

Bensch's family are longtime supporters of Quincy tennis, and Ronish said their presence will be missed when he graduates. The last match was a little bittersweet, he said.

With a substantial number of underclassmen, Ronish said he's optimistic for next year.

"One of the things I saw on Saturday was that a lot of the kids who either were on JV and didn't participate in that tournament or had lost out on Thursday still came around on Saturday. They were supporting the team," he said.

Players who lost a match stayed around too, supporting the players still on the court.

"That was one of our main goals this year, was to try and build that family culture, I guess you could say, with the team. Next year, we want to continue to grow. Then we can start focusing on the tennis side of things," he said. "It's one of those deals where you've got to get the first few swings under your belt, just get comfortable on the court. A lot of the kids that are coming back next year are going to be ready for a good run."

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at