Hononegah High School’s Girls Tennis team was one of the first to use eight new courts.

Hononegah Community High School’s tennis teams have hit eight fresh new courts and are the first to try them out.

Dave Berg, Director of Buildings and Grounds explained the process it took to create the courts. “Planning the building of the courts started almost a year ago,” Berg said.

Scandroli Construction built the courts, which took a total of three months. The first step was excavating and grading. The floor base is made out of asphalt, complete with a topcoat of sealant. Celebrating one of HCHS’s colors is a purple floor with a green background.

“The courts were done on schedule and on budget,” Superintendent Mike Dugan said. “We stayed true to the footprint of the plans.”

All of the other local schools are going to the six-court option,” Dugan said.

New tennis Coach John Torrence brings a lifetime of experience to the courts. “I have played tennis all my life; I played for Rockford West,” Torrence said.

While he was playing at West he was named No.9 greatest tennis player in Rockford Area History. He is only one of seven players in history to earn a state singles medal, (top six) in tennis; later becoming a nine-time singles champion in what was once known as the Rockford City tennis tournament.

Torrence finished fifth in state in 1972. He has a strong history of earning city titles.

He went on to play at the University of Virginia. There he earned a No.7 singles spot as a freshman. After graduating from Virginia Torrence was hired to teach and play in Germany, spending time in Bundeliga.

Torrence was named Volunteer of the Month by The Northern Illinois Tennis Association in September of 2017.

He has taught professionally at clubs and is the current ‘Head Pro’ at HCHS.

Torrence went to graduate school; earning a graduate degree in business. This led him to opening his own firm,”Torrence Enterprises.”

Hononegah is going to turn 100 this year; at one time HCHS had 10 courts; in more recent years the school had  two  which now exists as  a parking lot. “

HCHS agreed on eight courts at the beginning of the pandemic and had projected a price of $100,000 less than the original amount budgeted. At a buildings and grounds meeting comparisons were made to 16 different schools. The committee and Administration asked if this would benefit the community.

HCHS has a total of 33 tennis players on various teams who have priority to use the courts followed by physical education classes. When time allows the public will be allowed to use the courts as well.

“Some of the benefits that these courts bring is that it can handle a lot more girls; the goal is to have all of the players on the court. We have a ton of new and beginners. We will take the time that is needed to spend with the girls, ” Torrence said.

“I would love to see schools like Hononegah give a new opportunity to first time players who are brand new to a team; or ninth graders to be part of a program which would give them extra support.”

Additionally it is hoped that lessons can be given; opening the courts as needed; spending a certain amount of hours in the day. “Like any sport this creates the biggest pyramid and this type of practice develops top athletes.”

Last year we the boys team was playing at another school and they mispronounced our school name. We want to be known as Hononegah. It is imperative.”

Alex Kadamian is a former HCHS student who played for the Varsity tennis team. He is currently serving as the Assistant Tennis Coach bringing with him an advanced experience and knowledge.  “He is a super guy and he really cares about the kids,” Torrence said.

Torrence points out extra lines on the courts. “These lines have been added to open the playing of Pickleball; it is a growing sport,” Torrence said. “We hope to benefit the community with the Pickleball courts.”

Pickleball is said to be a simple sport to play. It is a game that resembles tennis where players use paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It can be played indoors our outdoors. The game combines aspects of tennis, table tennis, and Badminton.

All of the courts are fenced in. Windscreens will be put up and bleachers are on order to make the area complete.

 A new storage building is also in the works.

With these new courts options have expanded for HCHS teams, physical education classes and the public.

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