Outlaws tennis travels to Casper
By Thorn Compton
RAWLINS — While the other Rawlins High School athletic programs continue to practice for their upcoming start date next Friday, the Outlaws boys and girls tennis teams travel to Casper today to play in the Casper Jamboree.
Sixteen of the 28 players for head coach Traci Vorn’s squad will test where their skills are early in the season against the likes of Torrington, Sheridan and other teams from around the state.
“We are going to hit some big teams right off the bat this year and see where we stand,” Vorn said.
During practice Wednesday, Vorn said only being able to bring 16 athletes to the Jamboree isn’t a bad thing considering it’s so early in the season.
“Some of my kids are pretty inexperienced, so I am OK with leaving them in Rawlins,” Vorn said. “I don’t want them to get discouraged or for them to get blown out so early. I want them to have a good experience as things progress and build confidence as things go on.”
Youth is something coach Vorn has in abundance on both the girls and boys side of her tennis squad, but in that youth is quite a bit of experience.
The top four athletes for her boys team are all sophomores this year, but that doesn’t mean they are going to roll over to opponents.
“My top four boys are young, but they are really going to be tough,” Vorn said.
Team captains Anne Marie McFarland and Ryan Pfeffer both have a good amount of experience playing for the Outlaws and coach Vorn.
Vorn said she expects both of them to compete well today in Casper, especially with the work they put in over the summer.
“Pfeffer seems to be hitting the ball real well,” Vorn said of her boys captain. “I have some of my older kids coming in to hit against him, kids that played for me in the past, just because I want him to get used to some of the bigger hitters he will be facing at this level.
“A lot of this team put in some good work over the summer, coming here (to RHS) to hit every Tuesday. With no tennis pro here in Rawlins and no indoor courts, they know they have to get work in over the summer if they want to improve.”
For the doubles positions, Vorn said the only team that is set right now is the boys one doubles team of Gabe Beltran and Cody Scott.
“(Beltran) brings his big 6’2” frame in and is pretty dominant at the net,” Vorn said. “(Scott) is 5’2” and brings some toughness to the court. He is a hustler, he went and played in a national racquet ball tournament over the summer and a lot of that transfers onto the tennis courts.”
Both McFarland and Pfeffer will play in the one-singles spots to start the year off for the Outlaws. Vorn said she expects them to both be ready for whatever the other teams can throw at them.
“Those two (McFarland and Pfeffer), there is nobody that will outwork either of them in the state,” Vorn said. “Anywhere in the state, they will not be outworked.”