By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
As balls whizzed at them from a tennis ball machine, members of the Del Norte High boys tennis team practiced their serves under the close eye of coach Kirk Olesen.
This week, the team is preparing for the Humboldt-Del Norte Conference Singles Championships, to be held Saturday at the Macki Indoor Club in Eureka.
With formidable Arcata participating, Olesen said the tournament will present a challenge.
So far this year, Arcata has a perfect 14-0 mark, and have lost only two sets all year.
Olesen said his players have been playing good tennis as of late, and believes his squad should perform well in Eureka. But, of course, no one in the tournament wants to face any Arcata players to start off, he said.
"You just want to try to get away from their half of the bracket," Olesen said.
The Warriors started slowly to start the season, losing matches to McKinleyville and Fortuna. But the squad has shown marked improvement the past month, winning rematches against McKinleyville and Fortuna and beating Eureka twice.
For the season, the Warriors have a 7-4 mark.
"We're playing well now," Olesen said. "We're a little bit better than I thought we would be. We're playing good tennis."
Six players will participate in the tournament. The No. 1 player for Del Norte is Blake Polidore, followed by David Standring, Ben Tell, Tyler Pitman, Joel Bruhns and Alex Chou.
Chou moves into the rotation following the recent departure of No. 5 player Chad Richins, who moved to Colorado with his family.
On Tuesday, the Warriors will face Ferndale. On Wednesday, they take on North Coast Prep at home.