Noah Singer became Platte County’s first-ever Class 2 sectional qualifier last year in tennis.
This year, another first will happen when the Pirates host their first-ever home tournament at Platte County High School.
Last year a new eight-court venue was constructed and poured and the team played one regular season match on it, as well as a district contest.
On March 28, the Pirates will serve as host to the four team event with St. Joseph Central, Park Hill South and Maranatha Academy from Shawnee, Kan.
The new home for the Pirates is also a building block for coach Anna Nutt, who enters her third year at the helm and is 22-10 after two seasons.
“This will be the first men’s season that we’ve been able to practice all season on our eight-court facility,” Nutt said. “Not only can practices be longer, but players will have more opportunities to have quality practices and work to improve their skills throughout the season. We have a beautiful practice facility and I’m anxious to see how we improve this year.”
The Pirates enter the season with their eyes set on winning back the conference title they won in 2016, but had to settle for second last year with a 3-1 mark.
Platte County (12-4 last year) will have two returning starters back this season in Singer and Spencer Klopfer, while graduation meant the loss of the other four singles players.
Singer went 13-2 last season playing at No. 2 singles and finished as the district runner-up and secured a spot in the Class 2 sectional contest, the first such qualifier the Pirates since being bumped up a class.
The all-conference pick will be joined by another all-league performer in Klopfer, who went 18-2 last season at No. 3 singles.
Graduation meant the loss of Spencer Kunz, the Pirates’ No. 1 singles player and another all-conference pick, as well as Brayden Percival, Payton Anderson and Jack Lawver.
Seniors Nathen Mair and Porter Curtis are early candidates to move into two of the four open spots on varsity, while Nutt noted a group of sophomores and juniors are closed packed together in competition for the other spots up for grabs.
The Pirates will need to unseat Kearney and fend off a competitive Winnetonka team to win the Suburban Conference Blue Division title — which was shared between the three in 2016.
“With this group, I know we will come to fight for every match and will be very competitive against whomever we play,” Nutt said.