For the first time since 2002, Texas Wesleyan will have a women’s tennis team.
Athletic director Steve Trachier said the women’s tennis team has been revived to create more opportunities for women to play sports.
“We’ve been working hard here to bring proportionality to try to create more opportunities for women in sports here,” Trachier said. “We started doing some research and it looked like tennis would be a good sport to start up for women.”
Trachier also said that there are “more opportunities for competition in the area and in the NAIA,” and that bringing tennis back seems like a good move for Wesleyan.
Head coach Angel Martinez, who brings 31 years of coaching experience at the high school level to Wesleyan, said he is extremely excited for the opportunity to start up the tennis program again.
“It was kind of the perfect storm for me, I was eligible for retirement, and I had won a state championship at the high school level so there was nothing left for me to do,” said Martinez, who has coached at Grapevine and Cedar Hill. “The next challenge was this, this was absolutely perfect for me because I didn’t want to coach at a Division I or Division II school.”
Martinez, who had worked with Trachier before, also said if it hadn’t been for him, he wouldn’t have come.
Several players share the same excitement as Martinez to get the program started again.
“It was an opportunity for me to go back to school and get my degree, and I was very excited,” sophomore mass communication major Laura Grunden said.
Senior liberal arts major Alex Mentesana said the opportunity to play for Wesleyan “came out of nowhere.”
“It was really exciting for me, and it lifted a huge weight off my shoulders,” freshman exercise science major Maggie Brasher said. “Now I can go to school, get my degree and play tennis, which is what I love.”
Martinez said that it was really neat for him to be able to do something for someone else and for his players because he really cares about them.
Martinez said he knew Brasher from her days at Colleyville Heritage High School. Brasher had been a really tough opponent for his Grapevine team, and he wanted to do something for her because she was looking for a place to play.
Martinez has known Mentesana ever since she was a little kid. Her high school coach had told him that there is still fire there and she “wanted to finish what she started.”
Martinez said that Grunden was “bugging me all the time, and I loved that about her, there’s a lot to be said about persistence. This showed me that she really wanted to be here, and that really struck a chord with me.”
“My high school connections and my high school network are really helping me recruit,” Martinez said. “My email is pretty much blown up by girls who are in their junior and senior year that are from coaches who I have known from around the state and around the nation.”
Grunden said she is looking forward to travelling and being part of the team. Mentesana said she’s looking forward to “being a part of a family again” and having a presence on campus and being able to represent Texas Wesleyan.
Martinez also said he’s looking forward to a “new beginning and a new start.”
He said he’s looking forward to building relationships and likes who he has as far as players.
He also wants to focus on coaching the players so they can be the best that they can be.
One of his goals for this season is to lay a strong foundation for the team’s future, he said.
“If what we do this year is disastrous it’s gonna reflect for years to come,” Martinez said. “That doesn’t mean win, it means competing, working hard and for other people on the outside looking in and say, wow, they’re doing things the right way and going in the right direction.”