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DHS girls tennis hires a confidence coach

Demons’ new head coach hopes to make a ‘positive’ impact

Durango High School senior Erin Neale, daughter of John Baxter and Stephanie Smith, likely will be the Demons’ No. 1 singles player this spring, but nothing has been settled yet among the 21 girls trying to impress themselves on new head coach Laura Ehlers. Enlarge photo

Steve Lewis/Durango Herald

Durango High School senior Erin Neale, daughter of John Baxter and Stephanie Smith, likely will be the Demons’ No. 1 singles player this spring, but nothing has been settled yet among the 21 girls trying to impress themselves on new head coach Laura Ehlers.

Laura Ehlers is going to spend her spring teaching life confidence.

And she’s going to do it with a racket and tennis balls on the tennis court.

“Honestly, tennis has been the one constant in my life that gives me confidence,” said Ehlers, the brand new Durango High School girls tennis coach.

“It’s the constant positive in my life. Even if you lose, there’s got to be something positive.”

With 40 years of tennis-playing experience under her belt, Ehlers is in a position to know.

Originally from Ohio, Ehlers moved to Durango four years ago, where she now works as a substitute teacher for the school district. Ehlers replaces Reagyn Germer, whose head coaching tenure lasted through one boys season in the fall. The position was vacant up until last month.

Ehlers also has taught a variety of tennis fitness classes, experience she hopes to bring to DHS this season.

The Demons will need it.

Of last year’s team, only a handful of varsity players remain after graduation attrition.

“It’s a building year,” she said.

But Ehlers’ has got plenty of blocks to build with: 21 girls in all came out for the team this spring.

Ehlers hopes to have something to share with all of them.

Her goals?

“It’s really to have fun,” Ehlers said.

Fun mixed in with fundamental skills for the new players and new strategies to “season” play for the experienced ones.

The Demons have struggled so far this season, losing to Steamboat Springs 6-1 on Thursday before a tough Western Slope tournament last weekend.

Both basics and seasonings will be on display Tuesday, when the Demons host Montezuma-Cortez in their home opener at 4 p.m. at DHS.

jsojourner@durangoherald.com

Laura Ehlers is the new tennis coach at Durango High School. The Ohio native has played tennis for 40 years, and while she called the girls’ spring season “a building year,” her ultimate goal is “really to have fun.” Enlarge photo

Steve Lewis/Durango Herald

Laura Ehlers is the new tennis coach at Durango High School. The Ohio native has played tennis for 40 years, and while she called the girls’ spring season “a building year,” her ultimate goal is “really to have fun.”

It’s girls tennis season, which means the Durango High School tennis courts need to be cleared of snow before the Demons actually can play any tennis. DHS junior Alec Ensign, son of Chuck and Tonya Ensign, a player on the boys team and manager on the girls team, helps shovel the courts to get them ready for the Demons’ home opener Tuesday. Enlarge photo

Steve Lewis/Durango Herald

It’s girls tennis season, which means the Durango High School tennis courts need to be cleared of snow before the Demons actually can play any tennis. DHS junior Alec Ensign, son of Chuck and Tonya Ensign, a player on the boys team and manager on the girls team, helps shovel the courts to get them ready for the Demons’ home opener Tuesday.