KCHS tennis

Kearney Catholic’s Connor Conrad, left, and Brandt Groskreutz exchange a fist bump after scoring a win during last year’s tennis season. Conrad and Groskreutz are among a strong, veteran lineup for the Stars.

KEARNEY — Long-time Kearney Catholic tennis coach Ron Messbarger has turned over his reigns to his assistant Stephen Friesell.

Friesell, who has been with the program for several years, said the knowledge he gained from Messbarger is something he will always cherish.

“He’s such a great mentor,” Friesell said. “He’s easy on me and allows me to get involved in the drills and taking responsibility of them. He’s got a lot of years experience. It’s just nice to have the whole (Messbarger) family behind me.”

Friesell is taking over a team with a lot of talent.

The Stars, who finished sixth at the state tournament in Class B, return four players from the state tournament entry — Connor Conrad, Brandt Groskreutz, Joel Poland and Landon Seibert.

“They have a lot of leadership put on them this year,” Friesell said. “Since they know the game they are ready to take control of it. It’s just nice to have that, the experience, on any team.”

With all the returning talent back, Kearney Catholic has lofty expectations — get back near the top at state.

To do that, they’ll have to navigate through a daunting schedule that features the likes of Grand Island Central Catholic, Adams Central and several tournaments that feature a lot good teams, Friesell said.

“By seeing Central Catholic or York and Gretna teams, those teams help us out immensely,” he said. “Because that’s how those teams are going to be playing at state.

“They always bring good teams and an athletic group of boys (to state). Even McCook, playing McCook is a strong team for us.”

Kearney Catholic will start the season at 4 p.m., Aug. 23 when it travels to Grand Island to take on GICC.

ryan.edwards@kearneyhub.com

@ByRyanEdwards

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