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Tennis in Truckee? New TTHS team to give it a try

JAMES BALL

It’s an idea that has been kicked around for years among parents, but has never come to fruition until now: tennis has come to Truckee.

Hard to believe, but as this fall’s sports season gets under way, the already long list of activities consisting of football, boys’ soccer, girls’ soccer, girls’ golf, cross country, volleyball, AYSO soccer and Pop Warner football, has added another alternative for the younger athletes in town.

Kristin Ratto and Laura Borghello had wondered exactly when someone was going to start a tennis team in Truckee, a town with competitive players and good courts.

“When we took our kids to tournaments in Reno a lot of coaches wanted to know what school they played for,” Ratto said.

“We always wished someone would start a high school team,” said Borghello. “We were kind of waiting but nobody ever did it.”

That is until the summer of 1998 rolled around. Faced with kids who’s tennis-playing skills might potentially go to waste as they entered Tahoe-Truckee High School, Ratto and Borghello gave up on waiting for that someday and formed a team themselves.

Borghello called some other Nevada coaches, then contacted TTHS Athletic Director Chris Dreisback, who expressed interest in bringing tennis to Truckee.

After making “a lot of phone calls,” and completing a lot of organizational work, an early version of the team began practicing late in the summer, mostly on weekends at the Tahoe Donner courts.

Practice officially began a week before school started, and what began as a an organized way for their kids to compete has blossomed into a team of 23 TTHS students; 11 boys and 12 girls.

Aaron Borghello looks to be one of the star players in the team’s debut season.

“He’s just a really tough kid,” said Borghello, his coach and mother. “He can stand up against the big ones.”

And the big ones will be tough. Among the 4A Reno-area teams Truckee will face are players who are ranked nationally.

“It all comes down to technique,” said Ratto. “Aaron’s got the technique and he’s got experience. He’s played a lot of tennis.”

Also a coach’s son, Nick Ratto, is expected to draw on his tournament experience to lead the Wolverines this year.

Mike Lothspeich will also bring valuable court time to the first-year team.

On the girls’ side of things, Lindsey Borghello, Kim Hoopingarner and Heather Finn, who comprise the singles team, should also provide tough competition.

Lindsey Brown has shown a lot of potential, the coaches said.

At McQueen last week, Truckee came out with a decent showing for its first-ever match. The boys walked away with five wins, the girls two.

“They were devastated when they lost that match (overall),” Ratto said. “They thought they were at a higher level than they were. But they held their own. The more court time they get, the better.”

With a large turnout, the future looks promising for the TTHS tennis team.

“All the kids who have come out and hit a lot have improved,” said Borghello.

At this point, team strengths include hard work, motivation and a strongly competitive spirit.

“They’re competitive,” said Ratto. “They don’t care who is across the net from them.”

To be certain, for many of the players, fundamentals are still in the developing stage, and the coaches commented on a certain tendency toward laziness, but they look at this year as part fun and part construction.

Construction on a foundation for a structure which hopes to stand for many years to come.

“I want them to have fun and to play. I’m not thinking about this year, I’m thinking about next year,” said Ratto. “This year allows us to see what is possible.”

Borghello agrees.

“I’m hoping by the end of the season they develop some basic, good skills for tennis,” she said. “For next year, I hope they can go out there and play hard and win.”

Sierra Sun E-mail: sun@tahoe.com

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