The Oak Bay High tennis team credits a fine balance of athletes and camaraderie for an undefeated season so far.
Coach Robert Bettauer says it’s among the strongest teams he’s coached, using their “great depth” to achieve a 5-0 record in league play and the Island title.
“It’s a really nice balance of tournament level players and kids who are really good athletes – haven’t played a lot of tennis but got into it – and I always find that mix a unique feature of tennis in this province,” Bettauer said. “You get that balance of tennis players and athletes and they end up really boding and having a great team experience.”
Noah Bettauer, his son and team member, agrees the balance of Grade 9 to 12 students is key. The team features depth in both the boys and girls sides.
“This year we’ve had one of the strongest teams we’ve had in a long time,” Noah said.
He also plays tennis outside of school, and enjoys the team aspect of what is generally an individual sport.
“It’s something I’ve really enjoyed because it’s new to me. It’s nice having that collective energy that we all feed off of. This we’ve had the closest tea, the best bond we’ve had at least in the four years I’ve been involved,” Noah said.
Individual and pairs matches amass team points in competition.
“What you end up having is everybody cheering for everybody else when they’re playing you get that real camaraderie,” said coach Bettauer. “It’s one of the most positive experiences for our sport but also for these kids because tennis is a lifetime sport. They’ll be able to play it, like I am, well into their 60s, 70s and beyond. But when you combine that with the social element that our sport offers and a team competition like this it just makes it all that more enjoyable.”
Olivia Wein, a Grade 10 player, who also competes at a high level outside of school agrees and recommends the sport for anyone.
“It’s a single sport, but as a group I find all of us are really compatible on this team. We’ve learned a lot from each other and we’re rooting for one another which is more support than you would find playing regular tennis,” Olivia said. “Tennis is such an awesome sport, you can play doubles and singles. You get to play with somebody as well as playing separately. You make a lot of friends.”
The Oak Bay High tennis team won the Vancouver Island Regional Championships to move on to the provincial championships in Vancouver May 24 to 26.
“This is a team that could surprise a few in Vancouver and our goal is to come back with a medal for Vancouver Island,” the coach said.”They’ve got a real shot of doing really well at provincial championships.”
Oak Bay has been the top team in the province for the last couple of years, finishing fifth last year. This year they target the top three, with the two biggest hurdles Vancouver’s St. Georges and Crofton House schools.
Noah looks forward to the challenge of provincials with some good strong competition.
“We’re going to work hard, try our best and see what happens,” Noah said.
Did you know: Coach Robert Bettauer competes in the World Senior Tennis Championships this August in Germany