MARK BACYS stayed busy last school year, helping Danville girls’ tennis to a sectional title and taking over athletic director duties for the first time. He checked in ahead of Year 2 as the Vikings’ AD:
What will your girls’ tennis roster look like without reigning News-Gazette All-Area Player of the Year Lauren Ellis?
Of course Lauren being gone is a big loss at the top of the lineup. Her taking the court and taking on the best player each time set a pretty good tone for us. We’re going to have to move somebody up to the No. 1 singles spot, which is a very challenging spot to play for tennis in high school. We’re optimistic, but we also know we have probably three, maybe four freshmen that are going to challenge for some spots in our lineup.
Who’s the likely favorite to take that No. 1 spot?
Emma Towne is going to challenge for (the No. 1 singles spot). She’s been solid in our lineup the last few years and kind of under the radar because of Lauren and Erin (Houpt’s) success. It’s her senior year and thinking she’s going to have a pretty big year this year.
How tough is it to compete regularly in the Big 12 Conference?
That’s the big shift between USTA and high school tennis is one when the freshmen come in they’re used to playing age-specific tournaments. Now they’re playing girls that could be four years older than them, and the maturity and the experience people have throughout the Big 12 ... everybody’s, up and down, there’s really not an off day in the Big 12. As we play that schedule that builds us toward the end of the year, our philosophy is we don’t worry too much about the results as long as we get better.
What was your first fall like balancing coaching and AD duties?
Fall was stressful. It was. I never felt like I could get my bearings. Trying to learn the new job and then also trying to dedicate enough time and energy to the girls at practice. ... But the daily learning curve that I went through in my first year was pretty hectic for me. This year going in, I feel like that’s kind of slowed down a little bit. ... There’s a lot of time (spent), but it’s enjoyable time. For me, I get to see our kids doing what they love and being successful at it in most cases. We’ve had a good run of pretty high-profile athletes recently.