Kansas University tennis coach Kilmeny Waterman doesn't mind practicing a spring sport during the winter, but having to drive to Topeka's Wood Valley Racquet Club every day, she says, is a drag.
"It's fine. It's a nice club," Waterman said. "It just takes a long time to get there, and student-athletes don't have much time anyway. We're just hoping that we can get going on a facility."
In the past, KU's tennis squad has used Alvamar Racquet Club on Clinton Parkway. However, that property was sold to Seabury Academy, which will turn the building into its new high school.
KU players have been practicing at the Robinson Gym courts across the street from Allen Fieldhouse. Now, however, it's too cold to practice outside.
KU officials are working on securing a new indoor tennis facility.
"We want to get one as soon as we can," said Richard Konzem, senior associate athletic director. "We are exploring different options as part of the KU First campaign. But nothing has been finalized."
Waterman won't have to worry about that issue this weekend.
Instead, the third-year coach, who was named Big 12 Conference coach of the year last spring, will watch her six singles players and three doubles teams at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Central Regional in Tulsa, Okla.
The top two finishers in singles and the doubles winners will advance to the National Indoor Championships on Nov. 7-10 in Dallas.
"They definitely feel like they can play with anyone at this point," Waterman said of this year's team. "That's important with this individual tournament."
Kansas singles qualifiers include juniors Emily Haylock and Courtney Steinbock, and sophomore Paige Brown. The main singles draw begins today.
In qualifying action Wednesday, freshman Christine Skoda picked up two singles wins. She beat Ana Ines Excin of Wichita State, 2-6, 6-2 (10-3). In the qualifying round of 32, Skoda beat Nebraska's Rebecca Harvey, 6-4, 6-3 victory.
Senior Kim Lorenz beat Brigham Young's Haley MacFarlane, 6-4, 6-2, then fell to Kansas State's Haley McIver, dropping out because of illness. Lorenz will be back for doubles competition later in the tournament. Play will resume today with Skoda playing at 8:30 a.m. in the final round of qualifiers.
The Jayhawks also qualified all three of its doubles teams both Steinbocks, Haylock and Brown and Lorenz and Skoda to the main draw beginning Friday.