BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island High School junior varsity tennis team has embraced an alternative model to the traditional competition-driven approach.
Adam Rabasca coaches both the boys’ and girls’ teams. “At the JV level we don’t report scores. So it’s mostly skills work and trying to develop an understanding of the game, how it works and develop their skills as players so those that want to can work towards varsity.”
The JV roster boasts 17 girls and 14 boys. They play a similar schedule to the varsity programs, but with more focus on player development, both in physical and mental skills.
“My first run at coaching, we used to do full sets,” Rabasca said. “Then I took a break, and they decided to change the format to just playing a certain number of games to get more kids out playing.”
Junior varsity teams are often a subject of debate because of their status as development programs for the varsity. Some believe these programs should be competitive, while others believe they should be about the experience of playing and learning the game. The tennis team has embraced the latter, and it seems to be paying dividends, especially on the girls’ side.
“We change it each time. Sometimes we play best-of-three games. Sometimes each kid will serve once. The schools farther from here don’t do that much, so we wind up doing a full set. So that’s good, because they also get an understanding of what they’re expected to do when they get to varsity, so that’s valuable.”
Rabasca pointed out that the informal record of the girls’ team was 7-3-1, which is good news for a varsity team that is losing six seniors. The boys, again informally, went 1-8-1. The matches are mostly doubles only, with a few exceptions. Generally, schools try to play as many games as possible in a given match.
“This group was very engaged and excited and eager to play, so it worked out really well.”
The 2015 girls’ junior varsity team included freshmen Iris Aripotchm, Bailey Cust, Georgie Hansbury, Sammy Jacobs, Mackenzie Miller, Grace Ritter and Eliza Schleif; sophomores Tessa Boisvert, Marley Chamberlain, Elise Gilista, Abby Kelley and Rachel Jacobs; juniors Gabby Link and Jackie Winn; and seniors Greta Smallidge and Tuva Vick.
The JV boys’ team included freshmen Michael Borge, Alden Burgess, Max Craigo, Simon Davis, Lenard Lanvin, Hayden Goodwin, Gabriel Michael, Nolan Murphy and Warren Young; sophomore Dana Borge; and juniors Nolan Crandall, Bryce DiMauro, Kristoph Naggert and Jacob Sanner.