Los Banos High’s top boys tennis player, J.T. Barcellos, feels he knows his teammates pretty well.
He’s played other sports with most of them throughout his high school career, including basketball, junior-varsity football, water polo and golf.
So when the tennis team received another influx of players from other sports this spring, he already knew most of their athletic abilities.
“We have a lot of athletes, a lot of new players, that’s for sure,” the senior said. “I think we can probably, possibly make the playoffs. There’s only one dominant team in our league this year, and that’s Ceres.”
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Coach Lynn Barcellos, J.T.’s mother, had the first four spots set for Wednesday’s rain-kissed scrimmage against Dos Palos – J.T. in the No. 1 spot, Josh Carlucci at No. 2, Luke Sanchez at No. 3 and Elias Navarro filling the fourth spot. Beyond that, there’s still challenge matches to be played.
“I have 20 guys out there,” Lynn Barcellos said. “A few, maybe four of them have played a little bit before. Other than that, they’re athletic, like last year.”
A lot of inexperienced players from other sports filled the roster last spring, with guys like Navarro (football), Jesse Hernandez (basketball), Tyler Cicairos (football) and Keith Turner (football) taking to the court. This year is no different, with guys like linebackers Darren Baty and Ryan Selfridge, and safety Chris Lonetree joining the ranks.
“I was worried about making 12, and I had all these guys show up,” Barcellos said.
About the only player who hasn’t been a J.T. Barcellos teammate before is Max Edinger, a German foreign-exchange student who played football in the fall. Even the team’s lone freshman, Jack Gerstenberg, played water polo with Barcellos in the fall.
“It’s not as hard to teach them what to do,” J.T. Barcellos said. “They know they’re not the big hotshot or anything, and I’m not even a big hotshot either. They listen to my mom, they listen to other top players who have been playing for a while.”
Los Banos finished deep in the Western Athletic Conference standings last year, finishing 3-9 to finish above only Pacheco and Central Valley, who both went 2-10. J.T. said he feels this is the year for the Tigers to return to the playoffs.
“We know Ceres is going to take that first spot,” he said, “but the next two are up for grabs.”