CHEYENNE – Kelsey Hardsocg knew she was going to see a high level of tennis when she played in the World Team Tennis Junior National tournament last summer.
The experience was still eye-opening for the Cheyenne Central graduate.
“I didn’t realize how many really good kids there are around the country until I saw it in person,” she said. “For every good kid you see, there is someone who can beat them. That’s strange because you often see someone good and think, ‘They’re the best.’”
“But then you turn around and see someone who can kick their butt.”
Hardsocg won one singles match and four doubles matches as part of the Intermountain Tennis Association squad last year. She returns to the team again July 21 in San Diego.
Hardsocg will be joined by Cheyenne South senior-to-be Brendan Lock. They earned their spots on the team based on how many points the accumulated at ITA tournaments.
City of Cheyenne director of tennis Josh Cossitt is coaching the ITA team. Central grad Cailin Brugger will make the trip as an alternate for the team in case any players suffer injuries. She also will serve as Lock’s chaperon since he hasn’t turned 18 yet.
“It will be super cool to have so much of the Holliday Park squad there,” said Hardsocg, who will play tennis at NCAA Division II Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. “I’m super glad (Brugger) is going. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
“She probably will give (Lock) a curfew because she is kind of the mom of the group and watches over all of us.”
Lock’s participation in the tournament was uncertain until this week. He suffered abrasions on various spots on his body, and an avulsion fracture on a finger on his right hand during a cycling accident.
“I honestly thought I wasn’t going to be able to play for the first half of the high school season,” said Lock, who has won the past two Wyoming No. 1 singles titles. “That’s how bad it hurt. I didn’t feel any pain when I first crashed, but I slowly felt a lot of continuous pain for the next few days.”
The left-handed Lock was sidelined for a few weeks outside of doing some light hitting with his dominant hand. He started hitting with both hands Wednesday morning, and is confident he will be ready for WTT Junior Nationals.
Lock has some NCAA Division I offers, and is looking forward to testing himself against players who will be suiting up for big-time schools.
“There are going to be kids there who have (Universal Tennis Ratings) at 12 or more,” he said. “I’m about a 9.5, and those 12s and 13s are high-level college players. This will be a good measuring stick.
“I’ll find out how what I’m doing practice-wise and playing-wise compares to players with really high UTRs.”