High school tennis: Will Kaiser's time at academy paves way for strong senior season
Will Kaiser wanted a new challenge.
After two seasons in the Heritage Hall boys tennis program, Kaiser had won all but two matches. His skills were paramount in helping the Chargers win state team titles both seasons.
There was something missing. Kaiser was dominant, yet he wanted to find out how good he was.
“I really wanted to improve, and I had outgrown some of the competition here,” Kaiser said.
He and his mother, Venessa Bentwood, began doing research to see where Kaiser could go.
There was Tucker Tennis in Tulsa, but Kaiser wasn’t fond of going there because he would face much of the same competition he did at Heritage Hall. Then they found Elite Squad Tennis Club, and it stood out.
Nestled in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City, the club’s memo says it strives to bring players together who are committed to excellence. Kaiser was searching for that and more.
Last spring, instead of competing with the Chargers, Kaiser lived in Kansas, where a normal day consisted of five hours of class with about four hours of practice. There, Kaiser honed his skills, faced new competition and found more purpose to continue broadening his repertoire.
“I loved it,” Kaiser said. “I thought I really benefited from it.”
This season, Kaiser is back at Heritage Hall, looking to help the Chargers capture a sixth-straight Class 5A boys state championship. In 2017, Kaiser was selected for The Oklahoman's All-City boys tennis first team.
No. 1 singles in Class 5A is arguably the strongest division in Oklahoma tennis, but Kaiser isn’t concerned about the challenge. It’s something he welcomes and is ready to confront.
Because of his success, Kaiser will head to Holy Cross to compete on its tennis team after he finishes at Heritage Hall. Kaiser said his time in Kansas was the experience he was looking for and said it propelled his skill set.
But there are a few things left he wants to complete before his time as a Charger runs out.
“Winning state as a team would be ideal,” Kaiser said. “And individually. Both of those are going to take a lot of hard work, but I’m just looking forward to playing well and seeing that improvement.”