MARBLE FALLS — Marble Falls High School head tennis coach Tim Bourke used the week after the girls doubles team of junior Kyleigh Ann Futrell and senior Devon Dockery finished its season, to reflect on what exactly the Mustangs accomplished in his first year.
Bourke, who was the assistant coach at Mason High School before coming to Marble Falls, is used to playing into May.
Mason, after all, is known for winning state titles.
But Bourke has a greater appreciation of what his Mustangs accomplished this year, especially now that he’s had a chance to look at what their top competitors did.
Top of the list was beating Dripping Springs, 12-7, in a team tennis event in the fall.
“That was a big win,” he said. “At the time, I didn’t realize how big.”
It marked the first time Marble Falls beat Dripping Springs in head-to-head competition.
The Mustangs also advanced to the team tennis playoffs, losing only to defending champion Lake Travis and avenging a loss to Lampasas year earlier by returning the Badgers’ home courts this year.
“I think it’s huge,” the coach said. “The kids got a little taste of success. Hopefully it makes them mature more. It’s going to require a lot of work.”
Bourke knows he can’t celebrate this season’s accomplishments for long.
After all, the Mustangs will be in a new District 25-4A in the fall that will include Lake Travis, Dripping Springs and Leander Vandegrift, which the coach believes will have a solid squad.
“It’s going to be a tough district overall,” he said. “Depth-wise, it’ll be one of the toughest in the state.”
But he only loses two seniors, Dockery and Laura Vasquez.
“There are reasons to be optimistic,” he said. “We have a couple of kids coming up who’ll be freshmen.”
They are Hana Dockery, Devon Dockery’s younger sister, and Michael Holder, he said.
Hana Dockery recently won the eighth-grade girls singles title at the Llano Tournament, while Holder and partner Mike Stripling were the consolation winners in eighth-grade boys doubles.
Bourke said the other important aspect is that players use their offseason wisely, meaning he hopes they will practice and participate in tournaments leading up to two-a-days in August.
Usually tennis players’ offseasons are limited, he said, simply because the competition is not taking much time off.
“It’s a never-ending thing,” he said. “Two or three weeks at the most just to let the body heal. It’s difficult not to get burned out. During the season, I try to build in natural pauses.”
He admits athletes can actually play too much.
“I take risks and do self-evaluations,” the coach said. “Sometimes you have to take a step backwards in order to take two steps forward. I think we made strides this year and hope to build on what was accomplished.”