Although the men’s tennis season is not in full swing, coach Marc Kurtz said he signed two promising freshmen who will help keep Augustana competitive. Brock Baade, a Missouri native, and Jared Hofer of Sioux Falls both have many of the qualities needed for a successful college athlete, Kurtz said.
“Number one, both are excellent students and do well in the classroom,” Kurtz said. “They both are also real good guys and fit in well with the other teammates.”
Baade connected with Augustana through his high school coach, who owned Sioux Empire Fitness before Kurtz. Besides athletics, Baade was attracted to Augie for its pre-med program. Although he said many of the training techniques and practice strategies are the same as high school, Baade also enjoys the unique aspects of college tennis.
“It’s more intensified and more team-oriented than high school tennis,” Baade said.
Hofer has lived in Sioux Falls his entire life, and has been training with Kurtz since the seventh grade. His lessons began with a group, but quickly turned into one-on-one sessions. Hofer said his close relationship with Kurtz greatly influenced his decision to attend Augie, and that this was a decision he made early in his high school career. The transition between high school and coming into college athletics will also made easier because of Kurtz, Hofer said.
“Since he’s been coaching me for five, six years, it was the same stuff,” Hofer said. “It didn’t take much getting used to.”
According to Kurtz, the players do not participate in many matches during the fall. Instead, they will spend most of the winter practicing. Baade said he has many things to work on before the season recommences.
“I’d like to become more consistent, more relaxed and ready to play,” Baade said.
In Hofer’s case, the next four months will consist of recovering from an injury he received while working out, according to Kurtz. Recovery includes physical therapy for the next several weeks, after which Hofer will find out whether or not he needs surgery. If that happens, he said he would be out for the rest of the season at the very least.
“That would be terrible,” Hofer said.
Nevertheless, Hofer said he remains hopeful that physical therapy will pay off and that the spring will bring success.
“I’d like to go undefeated,” Hofer said. “I don’t know if that’s realistic at this point, but I don’t want to lose.”
Baade agreed that he hopes his hard work will pay off by the end of the season.
“I hope that our team does well and accomplishes a lot, but also that I was a benefit to the team, and that I helped them in some way or another,” Baade said.