BELOIT—It’s fair to say girls tennis hasn’t exactly been a powerhouse sport at Beloit Memorial High School over the years.
Which doesn’t bother new head coach Sheridan Michels even in the slightest.
“I have played tennis all my life,” she said. “I love the sport and my goal will be to get more of our girls on the court. This can be a life-long sport you can enjoy.”
Michels was hired Monday as the new head coach. She has experience coaching at Hillsboro, Ore., and at Milton High School, where she is from originally. She is in her fifth year as a physical education instructor in the Beloit School District. She taught at the high school for a year, moved over to Aldrich Intermediate School and now shifts back to the high school.
Competing in the tennis-rich Big Eight Conference is a monumental challenge for someone trying to build a successful program.
“I’m very comfortable taking this head-on,” she said. “Right now we have a smaller team so you can have more individual work. I’ll rely on (assistant coach) Kayleigh Lobrano to help fill me in on who we have back and where they are as players. I know we’re going to get them out of their comfort zone and really try to improve their games.
“We really have nice facilities. We just need to put in the work.”
Long-term, numbers will be key and growing the program will require starting kids out at an earlier age.
“They need to learn basic techniques at a younger age,” Michels said. “I wish there was a middle school program here like there is in Janesville.”
Michels hopes to expand opportunities for youngsters over the summer.
“I grew up in Milton and there were always summer programs,” she said. “Once I got to be a high school player, I helped run those, doing drills with the younger kids, both boys and girls. That’s how you grow tennis.”
Athletic Director Joel Beard is confident his new coach is up to the task.
“I think Sheridan will do a great job,” he said. “She works hard and she will do what she needs to do so our kids get better at playing tennis.”
The WIAA girls tennis season is in the fall and in-person contact between players and coaches at BMHS has been thwarted indefinitely by the COVID-19 pandemic.