The Shoemaker Grey Wolves resemble grey pups this season with only two returners from last year’s tennis team. 

Although they may not have gotten a player past the championship bracket quarterfinals, head coach Lorenzo Suarez knows facing a field with 20 teams from Classes 2A through 5A helped the team gain experience at the Taylor/Granger Tournament on Friday at Murphy Park in Taylor.

“The more teams you have, the more competition there is and we’re trying to get them to perform better,” Shoemaker head coach Lorenzo Suarez said.

“Even though they are small schools, they’re very competitive and just because we’re a 5A doesn’t mean the 5As can dominate the small schools.”

Shoemaker’s mixed doubles team of Allyssa Bourden and Armando Haynes advanced to the championship bracket while the Florence boys doubles pair of Garrett Gray and Kyle Honnerlaw took home the consolation bracket championship.

The tournament was the final one for the Grey Wolves before the team competes at the District 8-5A tournament April 7-8 at the Waco Regional Tennis Center.

“They were pleased with their performance,” Suarez said. “They had stiff competition and it was a great tournament overall.”

Gray and Honnerlaw lost in their first match of the championship bracket, but rebounded to win four matches in a row.

Garrett Pluhar and Tanner Watson advanced to the consolation semifinals before falling to their teammates in Gray and Honnerlaw.

“I think all of our doubles teams played really well,” Florence head coach Drake Stanczak said. “They were all competitive, they just lost tough matches.”

Stanczak said he liked what he saw from the team against a tournament field that featured 20 teams, including Class 5A Ellison, Pflugerville Hendrickson and Bastrop.

“It was good to see some different competition and play different people,” Stanczak said. “We competed really well.”

Tristen Brunson also missed the event because of an injury. Brunson won the girls singles state title as a freshman in 2012 and was the runner-up last season.

The Florence tennis team returns to Murphy Park on Thursday for the Academy Tournament.

Contact Albert Alvarado at alvarado@kdhnews.com

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