BOURBON – Dean Howdeshell is ready to reap the rewards for his dedication to his sport.
The Triton tennis standout enters his senior season this fall primed for a big year.
“I’ve got high expectations for myself and for our team this year,” said Howdeshell at a recent preseason practice. “I’ve worked hard in the offseason, put in the time and played in a lot of tournaments.”
Howdeshell will step into the No. 1 singles position for the Trojans. He went 15-6 at No. 2 as a junior to earn All-Northern State Conference honors for his squad.
Triton looks to be in position to be a contender for conference and sectional titles this fall. The Trojans went 9-5 last year and graduated two seniors in its outstanding No. 1 doubles team of Pete Kauffman and Jeff Ross. The duo lost in the regional round of the state tournament.
“I think our team has a good chance to win the NSC and the sectional,” offered up Howdeshell.
Triton coach Al Peckham echoes those sentiments of the top player for his team.
“We return a real strong, experienced team,” said Peckham. “I expect us to have another strong year. I know that some of the teams in our conference graduated a lot of their players.”
Peckham, who guided the Trojans to the program’s first NSC title in 2011, has also been impressed by what he has seen from Howdeshell in the preseason.
“I think Dean has made big strides from last season,” Peckham said. “He only plays one sport and he played a lot in the offseason. He’s just so aggressive and his ground strokes are just so good.
“Dean is pretty easy going. He listens well to coaching and is willing to work and do his job.”
Howdeshell, who started playing tennis in the eighth grade, says the little things should help his game this season.
“My patience is a lot better now,” Howdeshell explained. “This year, I just want to stay focused and upbeat and try and forget the last point.
“I feel like my backhand is the strength of my game and that my court coverage is better now. I’ve just focused on tennis and done the extra work and put the time into it and it’s done me good.”
Howdeshell, who is unsure if he will play tennis in college, also excels in the classroom. The soft-spoken young man is ranked third in his Class of 2014.
Triton, which has never won a sectional championship in boys tennis, hosts Rochester Aug. 22 to open its campaign.