By Janie Southard
Sophomore tennis player Brad Krick wants the Celina City Schools board of education members to raise the net, or more specifically, five nets.
Celina is the only school in the Western Buckeye League that does not have tennis courts at the school or nearby for use by the school tennis program, Krick, 16, said as he lobbied for a solution at the Monday night school board meeting.
The student read from statements he prepared defining the problem and requesting the obvious solution -- new courts.
In the past, Krick explained, the tennis program has "enjoyed full and exclusive access to the tennis courts at Breakaway Recplex."
But this year, Breakaway wanted more money than the Celina Athletic Department offered to pay to allow tennis students use of the four outdoor courts and two indoor courts, he said. "Students ... are hindered by the cost at Breakaway ... Membership fees along with court time fees adds up to a price many students cannot afford," he continued.
This year the team has used courts at Coldwater Memorial Park, which forces students to provide their own transportation. The recent auto accident, which resulted in the death of a team member en route to the Coldwater courts, has brought focus on student safety, Krick said.
The 33-member team plays 40 matches this year, with 15 at home on the Coldwater court. Athletic Director Dan Otten said the school used to host the WBL tennis tournament, but no longer can due to the court situation.
Attempts to team with the city to build new community courts that would be available to the tennis team have been fruitful, he told the board.
Community member Tom Casad, owner of Casad Company in Celina, who attended the board meeting in support of the school's tennis program, said he has talked with Mayor Sharon LaRue about possible funding for community courts through the Bryson Trust and is awaiting further word from her.
"Unfortunately, (the lack of courts) is a reflection on the school and the community," said district Superintendent Fred Wiswell, further suggesting the formation of a committee composed of community, city and school representatives to find funding for new courts.
Casad said his research shows cost per court falls in the $20,000 to $30,000 range.
Following the meeting, Krick said the only courts remaining in town are at Westview Park. "They are terrible, a real embarrassment. Everyone refers to them as the ghetto," he said.