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GIBSON CITY -- The Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School tennis team will start its season with an away meet at 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20, against Bradley-Bourbonnais.
"It's always an eye-opener for us as far as conditioning and where we need to go with our program and our skill level," GCMS head coach Cindy Petersen said.
Conditioning problems should not be due to a lack of offseason training, according to Petersen.
"We've had a lot more workouts – more captain workouts, more coaching and captain workouts – so it's been a pretty productive summer," Petersen said.
The Falcons' workouts were helped by the purchase of a new hitting machine by the GCMS Booster Club 
"It's been extraordinarily helpful. We're very grateful for our booster club for providing that for us," Petersen said.
"We're excited to use the hitting machine and use that to get better," senior co-captain Paige Shelton added.
Shelton is one of three senior captains on GCMS's squad along with Jessica Mueller and Alayna Miller.
"They have been providing a lot of great leadership this summer," Petersen said. "We've got some junior underclassmen who are going to provide a lot of help in our lineup this year. We've got a small incoming freshman group. Hopefully, we can build on that and see where this season takes us."
"I want us to all work together and be closer, especially since we have a smaller team," Shelton added.
Shelton and Mueller combine to form GCMS's No. 1 doubles team while Miller will be in the No. 1 singles matches.
"I think our goal is to always win more matches," Shelton said. "I think we'll be able to get a couple of more (wins) than we did last year. We've been practicing two or three times a week this summer."
The Falcons will face Watseka on the road at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, before hosting the Warriors at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2.
"We always look forward to Watseka because they're comparable in size to us," Petersen said.
After hosting St. Thomas More on Monday, Aug. 27, GCMS will travel to face Centennial on the road at 4:15 p.m. before traveling to St. Thomas More for a match at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, and Champaign Central at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26.
"They always enjoy going down to the Champaign schools and playing them on the nice courts they have and the facilities," Petersen said. "It gives us a chance to see where our game is."

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