Lincoln High tennis is rising

New era for Zebras
By: Staff Report
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The Lincoln High School Fighting Zebras tennis team had a significant turnout for the 2016 spring season. The team of more than 30 girls and boys were highly spirited with positive attitudes, and demonstrated consistent growth. 

Significant support came from Jay Berns, the Lincoln High Principal, and great hands-on coordination from vice-principal Mike Maul. Also Peter Schor, president of the Lincoln and Rocklin Tennis Association (LARTA), a three-high- school nonprofit support association

Schor and LARTA also facilitated tremendous support from the Lincoln Hills Tennis Club volunteers (335 senior members).

With the recent vacancy in the role of coach, Lincoln was looking for one, highly-qualified candidate for head tennis coach and came up with two highly-skilled tennis co-coaches, who split the responsibilities of the team and worked together seamlessly.

Chris Bender, co-coach, entered his role with experience in coaching tennis from the United States Tennis Association (USTA), Sacramento Area Tennis Association (SATA) Junior Tennis programs for several years. Bender’s son Caleb, a sophomore, was the Zebras’ No. 1 boys player this year.

Co- coach Philip Roberts, played tennis for four years at Lincoln High, class of 1995. He was the No. 1 ranked boys player all four years. Roberts had coached multiple sports over the past 15 years.

Roberts has deep family roots in the city of Lincoln. He worked for the Lincoln Police Department and has two sons: one will enter Lincoln High in the fall. The procurement of these two great co-coaches turned out to be a great decision.

Lincoln Hills’ and Zebras’ tennis

On April 26, from 2:30-5:20 p.m., the Lincoln tennis girls and boys teams came up to Lincoln Hills via bus to have mixed double matches and a fun tennis clinic with  Eldon Wilson, USTAP Elite Tennis Professional.

Schor said “As the bus rolled up, I was jumping up and down with excitement. It reminded me as a young boy, when the ice cream truck made the rounds on my block.

“These boys and girls are simply wonderful. They are an extension of their parents and the leadership from Principal Berns down through the teachers and support staff at LHS.”

Many of the Lincoln Hills Tennis Group senior tennis players have been Lincoln High volunteers for the past three years. There were also new volunteers.

The group was surprised how greatly improved the players were since the beginning of the season. The student/athletes were polite and gratitude was reflected by both the players and the volunteers.

 The Zebras’ 14 varsity players (seven boys and seven girls) were matched with seven senior women and seven senior men. The JV and freshman girls and boys did the Eldon Wilson clinic at center court.

There were balloons in the school colors, American flags, cake with the Zebras’ logo holding a tennis racket, snacks, candy, drinks, and one of the two Zebras’ banners was mounted on center court No. 1, which normally hangs at the high school tennis courts.

PVL singles and doubles tournament

With many players entering the season with no previous wins, the team was excited to see significant improvement. 

Michael Gage and Taylor DeRossett, both first-year tennis players, improved to the point of winning the last three of their four matches in mixed doubles, including one in the PVL tournament. 

Aubrey Owen, Ashley Anderson, Nikki Allen and Nina Holm, also first-year tennis players, achieved multiple wins as varsity girls’ doubles players. 

Caleb Bender and Ramon Cardenas, the No. 1 and No. 2 boys varsity players, respectively, both achieved their first wins this season. They included wins in preseason and PVL tournament matches. 

To top it off, the recent McDonald’s Athlete of the Month, Nicole Musil, the sole senior on varsity, achieved multiple wins as the girls No. 1-ranked player. She was one of the only players in the entire PVL season to take the undefeated No. 1 Placer High School player to a set tie-breaker. 

Coach Roberts and Coach Bender are pleased with the improvement the players made over the season.  They commented that with the team being comprised of a majority of freshmen and sophomores, it is exciting to see them continue to rise in talent, skill and success.

Tennis is a game for life

The city of Lincoln and Lincoln High is growing the sport.

In 2015, the city of Lincoln funded five lighted tennis courts to be built at Jimenez Park near Lincoln Crossing in 2016-17. This will give opportunity for young children, high schoolers and adults of all ages to play year-round and at night

A big “thanks” goes out to the city of Lincoln councilmen and the parks and recreation department for seeing the future of tennis in Lincoln.

LARTA is currently working to have Eldon Wilson do a Zebras’ tennis academy program at Lincoln High this summer. There would be three groups ages 5-18.  

For more information and to sign up for Lincoln High tennis, please contact assistant principal Mike Maul at mmaul@wpusd.k12 or Phillip Roberts at, or Chris Bender at