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Conard’s Tennis Arrangement

By: Patrick Huaman

Hello Conard High School Students! My name is Patrick Huaman, and as a student and a Varsity tennis player, I've come to inform you of a serious issue that has had several negative implications for Conard’s tennis community. Before speaking on the situation, I would like to mention that the boys and girls tennis teams play during the spring season. As a result, we expected the courts to be rebuilt by spring. This brings us to the dilemma of the town not having the construction of the tennis courts completed in time for the tennis season at both Conard and Hall High Schools. Originally, the town had a capital improvement plan, but with the advocacy of the town’s legislative delegation, Conard was able to get a $3 million state bond for the project of reconstructing 24 new courts. The issue was that West Hartford received this money in March 2022 but didn’t decide to begin construction until early September 2022. The situation became grave during the winter when the school directly emailed the students stating that the construction of the courts would be delayed because of the weather—there had to be a certain degree of weather to install the concrete on the courts. This was something that the town did not take into consideration, as the court's construction could have begun early during the summer of 2022, when they would have perfect weather conditions to finish construction. This indicates poor decision-making from the town, which resulted in Conard's team having to share four courts at Wolcott Park early on in the season.

This later did change when lines were placed on the non-fully constructed courts as our junior varsity team went to play there for the remainder of the season. For some context, our coach from the previous season had retired, and we had a new coach for this season. Thus, not only did we have tryouts on only 4 courts with Junior Varsity and Varsity, but also with our new coach, Joe Albiach, who has never seen our team play before. This made it much more difficult for him to decide the lineup for the season. He even stated it was "ridiculous" that we had to play in these conditions as our singles had to play on two courts alone. To be more specific for the non-tennis players, we have 4 singles (1-4) and 3 doubles (1-3). This means that our usual split of the team would be 1 and 2 singles played on one court while 3 and 4 play on another. As for doubles, it would be 1 and 2 on another court, while 3 played with the substitutes of the team. Of course, this was not the only setup we had, as players would always move around as we improved throughout the season. The Varsity line-up alone needed four courts to get the most practice possible. Not having this at the start of the season slowed our progress as a team as each player got the minimum amount of time to practice. However, it hurt even more not being able to have the entire tennis team together on all twelve courts at Conard to practice as a team fighting for better results. Now, here’s what our boys' varsity captains had to say about the situation:
 

Varsity Captain for Boys Tennis, Reid Morrow, made a statement: "It’s such a shame that the courts aren’t done yet. Two years ago, they said they were filling hazardous cracks, which forced us to play at Wolcott, but they did nothing to the courts the entire season. Fast forward to the present, and they still haven’t finished the courts because of supposed weather problems, even though it’s been nice outside during this "winter". Since they can’t finish the courts because they can’t paint due to weather, we are once again forced to play at Wolcott with a meager 4 courts for our big team of around 30–40 kids. This year we have a new coach and even fewer courts to work with. This will be an extremely tough year for us, but I believe we will be a great team regardless of these setbacks. Hopefully next year’s team won’t have to deal with this mess and the courts will finally be done after three long years."

In turn, Varsity Captain for Boys Tennis, Jaden Borla, too spoke out: "The whole situation with the construction of the courts is pretty disappointing. The courts started getting redone at the start of the school year, around September or October. By November, all that was needed was for the courts to be painted and nets and net posts installed. They were said to have been finished by the time the spring season came around, but by the time winter came, no progress had been made and would remain that way until recently (late March). We are now stuck with 4 courts instead of our usual 6, and we have had to split up varsity and put JV on our unpainted courts with temporary lines because it’s impossible to have around 40 people on 4 courts. And it’s not just happening here but also at Hall. Obviously, it’s disappointing, but I’ve heard from our coach that the construction team needs consistent 70-degree weather for a week to get the surfaces right, so it makes sense in that way. However, it’s disappointing because they had all of summer to reconstruct the courts for our spring season but have chosen a weird time in which they can construct but not paint the courts until late spring. Overall, I’m just glad we have courts to play on and am hopeful that we can move back to our home courts soon."

 

The Conard tennis season has been successful despite their court issues; however, they hope in the future similar projects will be better thought-through. 
 

Sources used:

We-Ha.com

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