By HANNAH ABBATE, reporter
Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018

Tennis had been missing from Sterling College for some years until it was recently brought back to life by head coach Lonnie Isaac in 2017.

Before coming to Sterling, Isaac had been the head tennis coach at Bethel College for the men’s and women’s programs for about 10 years.

For college, tennis programs have a set fall and spring season. September of each fall is filled with multiple tournaments for both the men’s and women’s teams. They then have a break period until they regroup before Christmas break to start conditioning. This also happens in February when the spring semester starts up.

“Since coach lives in town now, we’re actually going to do some weight lifting and everything,” Caissa Smith said.

Smith is a sophomore on the women’s team this year.

“I only played at the twenty-second through twenty-fourth tournament because I’m injured. Well not anymore. I had knee surgery,” she said.

Smith tore her meniscus. In surgery she learned it was torn in two places.

“I did good for my first tournament back. I only practiced a week,” Smith said.

For practices the program would divide into a women’s group and a men’s group and run individual drills.

“At the end we either did something fun or conditioning. We would play a game or we’d run lines,” Smith said.

This would be their weekly routine as they practiced five days a week.

Coaches will continue to recruit for both men’s and women’s during this break as they prepare for their upcoming season in the spring.

By: Briseyda Ponce  Sterling, KS — April 24, 2018 7:29 P.M.
2017 saw the return of the Sterling tennis team for both women and men. It has been
over 20 years since Sterling last had a tennis program. The team consists of seven women and six men. This year, the woman had a chance to further advance with the season. Unfortunately, the women’s team fell short.
The point of decision was against Kansas Wesleyan on April 16. The Sterling women’s
tennis team were down 1-2 when finished with doubles. In singles, the number one string, freshman Janae Ryan, won. This made the team 2-2. As the matches furthered, the women fell short finishing with an overall loss of 4-5.
Coach Lonnie Isaac was “proud” of how far the first year women’s team looked. They had a chance to qualify, which is a big step for a team full of freshmen and new coaching staff. The women’s captains, Ryan and freshman Keeley Hipp, have nothing but gratitude for Coach Lonnie and how he pushed the team. Ryan and Hipp played first string doubles. They previously played with each other in high school and even went as far as being Kansas State Champions. They both found the experience “unique” and are hoping to “ improve and make conference next year.”
Coach Isaac also stated after the loss to Kansas Wesleyan that “the women’s team exceeded…expectations for being so successful with this first-year program.” Hipp and Ryan believe the team has a lot of improving to do to continue to put a fight, but nothing is impossible with a bit of positivity.

By: Cathryn Cavazos  Sterling, KS — March 2, 2018 9:15 P.M.

The brand-new Sterling College men’s and women’s tennis team traveled to Nebraska this weekend for their first matches of the season, but unfortunately, the team came up short.

On Friday, March 2, the men’s and women’s teams headed first to Seward, Neb. to face Concordia University. The men lost with a score of 8 – 1 while the women faced a score of 7-2.

Saturday did not bode much better for the Warriors as they traveled through the state to Fermont, Neb. where they were against Midland University. The men ended up with a score of 8 – 0 while the women ended with a score of 8 – 1.

The Warrior tennis team, a young team still trying to find their footing, will have another chance at a win tomorrow, Tuesday, March. 6 as both men and women face off against Hesston College on their turf in Hesston, Kan. The tournament begins at 3 p.m.

By: Anna Adamyk

Sterling College announced the launch of their tennis program at the end of June 2016. Now, over a year later, the tennis program has brought in 13 recruits—all freshmen— aside from junior transfer student Andrew Wright.

It has been eight years since Sterling College offered tennis as a competitive sport. Tennis phased out of of the College due to lack of interest from students and recruits and lack of leadership through a coaching position. But Sterling College’s Athletic Director, Gary Kempf, explained that tennis needed to happen again for the school and for the community.

“Tennis has been around for a long time. It will always be around. So it was a very easy add,” Kempf explained. “It was finding the right person to run the program. That was the key. It was a very easy thing to see that it would be the right sport for us to add.”

Lonnie Isaac
Coach Lonnie Isaac

Kempf found the right person in Lonnie Isaac. Coach Isaac brings experience to the program from coaching strong tennis teams in the past. Isaac came to Sterling College after head coaching tennis at Bethel College in Newton, KS., since 2006. Before coaching at Bethel College, he coached at Tabor College in Hillsboro, KS. During his time at both colleges, Isaac led his teams to multiple KCAC Championship games, winning six in a row with the Lady Threshers from 2008 to 2013. Isaac has also won KCAC Coach of Year six times.

Once a solid coach was hired, the athletic department started necessary renovations on the tennis courts on Sterling’s campus. The renovation began in the winter of 2017 and was finished by the time classes ended for summer. While the courts were upgraded, Isaac worked hard to fill his roster.

Both Kempf and Isaac spoke of the spiritual emphasis they hope to provide in sports. They expect God to be at the center of everything they do, including sports. “One of the aspects of hiring Lonnie here was to increase our spiritual emphasis as an athletic program,” said Kempf.

Isaac shares this same viewpoint with Kempf and spoke of his priority in coaching. “My hope is that we’re going to bring in young men and young women who I can impact them and help them grow in that [spiritual] walk. It has to be an intentional side of the program…I’m competitive. I want to win. I want to hang a championship banner here at some point. But if we do things the right way, the winning takes care of itself.”

Isaac also expressed plans to grow the program at semester, saying he would “like to have 10 [women] and 10 [men] on the roster.” Building a program takes time and effort from all sides of the athletic department. Although the team is in their building year, coaches and fans are excited for this new addition to Sterling College athletics.

The tennis team had several tournaments early this fall, but their official season kicks off in the spring on March 2 against Concordia University in Seward, NE. Their full schedule can be found at scwarriors.com.