Hellgate Tennis: A Winning Tradition - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Hellgate Tennis: A Winning Tradition

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The Hellgate boys tennis team has been AA champs for three out of the last four years, while the girls team has had several highly finishing teams as well, making Hellgate tennis a perennial power-house.

"I think it's our spirit.  We're good to each other on and off the court, and when we play we have good team spirit, and we have really good attitudes on the court, and I think that's important, plus we have a lot of talent," says senior captain Wren Matelich.

"I think we're doing really well, we're right where we want to be at this point in the season.  People are playing solid tennis, and now we're trying to focus more on our strategies and our tactics," says Hellgate head coach James Hackethorn.

One of the reasons the team is so successful is they have a large group of players try-out, plenty of them who haven't played tennis before, but do have athletic backgrounds.

"It's super fun, we're all nice to each other, and it's a sport you can pick up.  Not necessarily if you want to be in the top, but if you're athletic you can pull it off," says Matelich.

"One thing we encourage, is our JV program, we don't cut anybody, so we do get a lot of people who have played volleyball, did swimming or basketball, and they're looking for a different spring sport.  It's a lot of fun to come play tennis, and sine we don't cut anybody, it gives people an opportunity to learn," adds Hackethorn.

They also partly contribute their success and overall numbers to where they live.

"The Missoula Valley is really into tennis, and it's a good talent pool.  We like the sport, not only do we play during tennis season, but we do it during the winter, and a lot of the kids to USTA tournaments as well," says Hellgate Sophomore Isak Nord

If you ever attend a Hellgate tennis match, you'll quickly notice they are one of the more vocal teams when supporting their teammates on the sideline.

"That's something we talk about, is even though tennis is an individual sport, team tennis is so much more exciting, because you're not just playing for yourself, you're playing for your team and to get the points.  If you can rally behind someone whose down, it can definitely help out," says Hackethorn.
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