Tennis team serves up another season

Taylor Moore

Chatter and the thwack of tennis balls echoed in the February chill. After months of cancelled practices because of COVID-19, the tennis team is finally allowed to meet, a good thing in senior AJ Avansino’s mind. 

Avansino has played with Reno for four years, the entirety of his high school career, and the reopening of in-school practices was a great relief to him to get used to padel tennis like the ones at

“There hasn’t really been that much tennis at all outside of high school,” Avansino said. “That’s where I play a lot, in tournaments. There haven’t been a lot of ways to practice.” 

The restrictions on meetups have definitely put a damper on the sport. Coach Brent Busboom, who played for McQueen in his day, and is in his first year of coaching for Reno, finds that  it can be harder to get a sense of competition without these matches. 

“We don’t have the experiences that they get in Vegas or Northern California,” Busboom said. “It’s hard to practice competition like that when you just don’t face them.” 

The team doesn’t only play for competition, however. Avansino’s partner in doubles, Senior Charlie Bradley, has also played with the team since he was a freshman. His favorite part of playing is the community aspect, which was made more difficult this year. 

“Playing tennis alone against a ball machine is pretty boring,” Bradley said. “Playing tennis with a bunch of other people is the fun part. It’s still possible, which is nice, but even when we huddle up we’re all far apart from each other.”  

Sophomore Brody Friedman has played singles with Reno High since last year, and he has a more play-oriented view. 

“I like the drive,” Friedman said. “When it’s a close game, towards the end of the match, it is always fun.” 

Avansino said his biggest challenge is trying to improve. With the team being relatively young, in his words, there’s always something that could be improved, a move that can be refined, or a sequence that can be worked on. 

“There’s always a better person to play,” Avansino said.

For Coach Busboom, he wants the boys to be that “better person,” and to keep improving themselves. After all, that is why it’s called practice. 

“You can see that they know they work hard and have done a good job,” Busboom said, “It’s like going to Disneyland with a young kid, even though you’ve gone to Disneyland a bunch of times, you can get excited by their excitement. I think that’s probably the best part.”