Second-year Hesston College Women’s Tennis coach, Myron Diener, is excited about the new additions to the spring roster. Diener is borrowing freshman Brooke Hershberger (Goshen, Ind.) and sophomore Dusti Diener (Harrisonville, Mo.) from two other Hesston sports teams to fill out his team. Hershberger played volleyball in the fall and Diener, Myron’s daughter, played soccer in the fall.
“They’re actually really solid tennis players,” Diener said. “They both have very stable games and I see a lot of upside to both of them. I’m optimistic that they could have a reasonably good season.”
Diener is thinking positively for his women’s team. He’s shooting to be .500 for the season and believes the team’s hard work and dedication will help achieve this.
“Five of my ten have never played in a competitive tennis match before,” Diener said. “Really gutsy for the girls. They’re motivated. They seem to embrace the sport and they’ve been working hard.”
The Larks kick off the new season at 9 a.m. against Southwestern Christian University (Bethany, Okla.) on Tuesday, March 3.
The Hesston College women’s tennis team hosted Bethany College (Lindsborg, Kan.) on Saturday, April 5, dropping a 7-2 match to the Swedes.
Sophomore Savannah Mitchell (Groveland, Ill.) teamed up with freshman Brett Fair (Topeka, Kan.) to take one doubles at 8-5. Mitchell then won at one singles by the same score. Sophomores Victoria Kropf (Monroe, Ore.) and Sierra Wyse (Mt. Pleasant, Iowa) kept their singles matches close, staying on serve till 5-6 where they dropped their final two games and the match.
Hesston hosts Cowley College (Arkansas City, Kan.) at 3 p.m. on Monday, April 7.
The Hesston College women’s tennis team defeated Central Christian College (McPherson, Kan.) 6-3 on Wednesday, April 2 for its first win of the year.
Freshmen Brett Fair (Topeka, Kan.) and Elisabeth Wilder (Hesston, Kan.) recorded impressive straight set wins (two singles: 6 -3, 6-1) and (three singles: 6-1, 6-0) respectively. Sophomores Savannah Mitchell (Lindsborg, Kan.) and Sierra Wyse (Mt. Pleasant, Iowa) fought back after each losing their first set to win their matches in third-set super tie-breakers (one singles: 3-6, 7-6, [10-6]) and (six singles: 4-6, 6-3, [10-6]), respectively.
The doubles teams (Mitchell/Fair and Wilder/Morgan Martin [New Holland, Pa.]) each recorded wins, pushing Hesston to six total wins to claim the match victory.
The Hesston women will host Bethany College at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 5.
The Hesston College women’s tennis team dropped a road match to Tabor College (Hillsboro, Kan.) on Thursday, March 27 by a 6-3 count.
Sophomores Samantha Aeschliman (Lindsborg, Kan.) and Savannah Mitchell (Groveland, Ill.) came out with a 9-7 win at one doubles. Freshman Brett Fair (Topeka, Kan.) completed an impressive straight sets win at two singles (6-3, 7-5), while freshman Elisabeth Wilder (Hesston, Kan.) outlasted her opponent in a tight (6-2, 4-6 [10-7]) 3rd set super tie-breaker.
The Hesston women host Seward County CC (Liberal, Kan.) in a Region VI match at noon on Saturday, March 29.
First-year Hesston College Women’s Tennis coach Myron Diener points to returners Samantha Aeschliman (Lindsborg, Kan.), Narumi Hayano (Kiyosu-Shi, Aichi-ken, Japan) and Savannah Mitchell (Groveland, Ill.) as veteran leaders for the upcoming season. Freshmen Brett Fair (Topeka, Kan.) and Victoria Kropf (Monroe, Ore.) give the Larks added talent.
“I was pleased with the effort the team put forth during the off-season by getting out to the courts several days per week,” Diener said. “This will certainly pay off as we get into the competitive portion of the season. We will be challenged this spring with mostly four-year schools on the schedule. We are excited to host six home matches this spring.”
The Larks kick off the new season with a 1 p.m. home match with Colorado Christian University on Sunday, March 2.
“I am honored to return to this setting that I experienced 35 years ago,” Diener said. “To have an influence on a group of students who have chosen my classroom – the tennis court – is a blessing.”
Hesston College Women’s Tennis Coach Myron Diener announces Brett Fair, a recent Topeka (Kan.) West High School graduate, as the newest addition to the Larks program.
One of only two female members of the 100-Win Club in the history of Topeka West High Tennis, Fair recorded 101 career wins during four state tournament-qualifying seasons. A two-time state medaler, Fair was a key member of a Topeka West High team that finished fourth at the 2013 state tournament.
An All-State Academic All-Star and four-year honor roll member, Fair will pursue studies towards an animation/film degree.
“We’re pleased to have Brett join our program,” said Hesston coach Myron Diener. “I’m looking forward to her contributions to our team and the broader campus community.”
Fair attends Wanamaker Woods Church of the Nazarene, Topeka, where she is active in youth group, mission trips and vacation bible school. She is the daughter of Pam and Glen Fair, Topeka.
Hesston College athletic director Joel Kauffman announced the July 16 hiring of Myron Diener, a 1979 Hesston College graduate, as men’s and women’s tennis coach. He will succeed Jeron Baker, who resigned after five years at the helm of Hesston Tennis.
“I’m excited to have Myron as our men’s and women’s tennis coach,” Kauffman said. “He has a passion for tennis and knows the game well. He also has a strong interest in working with and mentoring student athletes.”
“I am honored to return to this setting that I experienced 35 years ago,” Diener said. “To have an influence on a group of students who have chosen my classroom – the tennis court – is a blessing. The opportunities at Hesston are many – academics, arts, music and sports, to name a few. The students at Hesston are the significant part of a unique experience.
Diener spent the previous 15 years as senior statistician at Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, Kansas City, Mo. The position with the Larks is his first head coaching job at the college level.
“Certainly all those involved in sports find motivation in the natural competition existing in this venue,” Diener said. “I’m also motivated to see the gradual improvement that an athlete can experience through focused training, hard work and commitment. The result likely will not lead to Wimbledon, but can be evidenced through a higher first serve percentage, lower net clearance, deeper ground strokes, faster foot work, cleaner ball strikes, etc. I’m excited to have the opportunity to influence these improvements and observe the results.”
Coach Diener and his wife, Donna, reside in Hesston. They have two daughters; Kaci ’13 and Dusti, who will enroll at Hesston in August.
The Hesston College women’s tennis program takes the court in a few short weeks. Fifth-year coach Jeron Baker is excited about the added team depth and overall talent on the women’s roster.
“We’ve added several key freshmen to a roster that returned the entire recruiting class from a year ago – meaning a deeper and more talented lineup,” Baker said. “Our number one player from last year will likely be at three or four this year. I think that depth and experience will help us tremendously. We’ll also be much better at doubles.”
As an NJCAA Region VI member, Hesston will once again look forward to a challenging schedule. The Larks open the 2013 slate with an indoor match at Region VI foe Barton Community College (Great Bend, Kan.) at 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22. The Larks’ March 21 home match against Ottawa (Kan.) University, beginning at 11 a.m., will be streamed live and is accessible at hesston.edu/larks.
“How we compete in our opener will likely determine the mindset for our team the rest of the season,” Baker added. “Our women are looking to make some good things happen and, if we play up to our ability, will be able to surprise some teams. It’ll be fun to see how the year unfolds.”
As the 2012-13 Hesston College men’s and women’s tennis teams are busy training for a new year, the men’s program received news of a 2011-12 post-season ranking that speaks to the progress the Larks have enjoyed over the past several years.
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association ranked Hesston Tennis 24th in its final 2011-12 rankings, released earlier this summer. When he received word of the recognition, Hesston coach Jeron Baker was thrilled.
“The year-end ranking is a testament to the hard work put in by our entire program last year,” Baker said. “The men specifically received the ranking but we view ourselves as one team. The time and energy put in by all players, both men and women, to challenge each other is what helped us accomplish this milestone. With the strong support we have returning and the new additions to our program, last year’s ceiling could become this year’s floor.”
Baker highlighted three individuals from last year’s squad who stood out, including Taylor Ermoian (Hays, Kan.), Luis Ramirez (Tachira, Venezuela) and local product Michael Oyer (Hesston, Kan.), all returning sophomores who hope to life the Larks to even greater heights this year.
“We only hope to grow from here,” added Baker. “We continue to teach that in all things, not just tennis, there is nothing better than getting better. I’m proud of our team and our institution for supporting each other in the ways we have.”
Samantha Aeschliman, a senior at Smoky Valley High School, Lindsborg, Kan., signed a letter of intent to continue her tennis and academic careers at Hesston College.
A four-year varsity points leader at Smoky Valley, Aeschliman was a key member of the 2010 team that finished fifth at the state tournament.
An honor roll student and National Honor Society member, Aeschliman plans to study math education at Hesston.
“Sam comes from a great tennis program at Smoky Valley,” said Hesston coach Jeron Baker. “She has been their points winner all four years. Her talent and skill are dwarfed only by her personality and excitement for life. She will be a perfect fit on campus. I couldn’t be happier about her joining our incredible program.”
Aeschliman is the daughter of Julie Aeschliman, Lindsborg.
Fourth-year Hesston College women’s tennis coach Jeron Baker will look to a nearly all-freshmen team as another season of tennis awaits.
Joining sophomore Katie Miller (Rio Rancho, N.M.) on this year’s roster are freshmen Kaci Diener (Harrisonville, Mo.), Emma Payne (Pulaski, Iowa), Leah Unruh (Newton, Kan.), Courtney Unruh (Hesston, Kan.) and Erika Wedel (McPherson, Kan.).
“I’m looking forward to seeing what our young players can do,” Baker said. “They’re working hard and enjoying each other. We’re excited to get things started.”
Highlighting the 2012 schedule are several matches against local four-year varsity programs including Bethel College (North Newton), Tabor College (Hillsboro) and McPherson College. Last year’s team recorded three wins against Central Christian College’s (McPherson, Kan.) varsity.
Savannah Mitchell, a senior at Morton (Ill.) High School, has signed a letter of intent to continue her tennis and academic careers at Hesston College.
A team MVP in her sophomore year and a co-captain the past two years at Morton High, Mitchell was a key part of her team’s back-to-back Mid-Illini Conference championships in 2008-09. Mitchell also ran track at Morton High.
“Savannah’s maturity and ability to relate to people are some of the things I’m most excited about,” said Hesston coach Jeron Baker. “She will be an instant leader. Her work ethic and potential are high. Savannah will be a terrific asset to our team.”
Mitchell is the daughter of Martin and Victoria Mitchell, Groveland, Ill.
Taylor Ermoian and Whitney Hickert, both seniors at Hays (Kan.) High School, have signed letters of intent to play tennis at Hesston College.
Ermoian is a four-year varsity player for Hays, compiling a 20-13 overall record as a senior. He earned the school’s Most Spirited Athlete Award following his senior year in which he helped Hays to a state tournament berth.
An honor roll student, National Honor Society member and Citizenship Award winner, Ermoian excels in the classroom as well.
“Taylor’s ability to understand the intricacies of the game and ability to structure points make him a valuable asset to the program,” said Hesston coach Jeron Baker. “It’s his personality that excites me the most though. He is the exact type of student we want at Hesston.”
Ermoian is the son of Cheryl Herman and Kyle Ermoian, Hays. He attends Celebration Community Church in Hays and is active in the youth group there.
A varsity letter-winner in tennis and track, Hickert has served as team captain for her tennis team the last two seasons.
A four-year academic letter recipient at Hays High, Hickert is an honor roll student, National Honor Society member and Athletic Boosters Scholar. She plans to study nursing at Hesston.
“Whitney is the type of player who will instantly become a leader on our team,” Baker said. “She exudes care and compassion for others and will be a great example for all of us. She has a high athletic ceiling, and with more specific tennis instruction there’s no telling how good she can be.”
Hickert is the daughter of Kevin and Sondra Hickert, Hays. She attends Liberty Christian Fellowship Church in Hays.