LAPEL — Zach Krebs is an important part of the Lapel tennis team once again in 2017. After winning 14 matches as a No. 1 doubles player for a 20-win Bulldog team in 2016, he is confident and hopeful for a history-making campaign in his final go-around this season.

But in the weeks leading up to the beginning of official team practices, part of Krebs’s preseason training was sidetracked with a bout with a strep infection — twice. It caused him to miss the Community Hospital tournament in July, but is behind him now

“I just hope it doesn’t come back,” he said. “I can’t miss any more practices. I’m feeling good now with a good recovery and everything.”

Krebs has been playing tennis since he was 8 and was introduced to the game by his older sister, Anderson High School graduate Paige Laughlin. From that time until now, the support of his family has been crucial to his success in tennis, he said.

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“We’re a really close-knit family,” Krebs said. “They support me in everything I do; they get me tennis lessons whenever they can. Even my dad comes out and hits with me if I don’t have anyone else to hit with.”

Krebs is engaged politically and follows the news of the day. He would like to see more young people paying attention to what is happening in the world, but the level of awareness for people his age depends on their areas of interest. He said many are turned off by the ugliness that embodies the current political climate, and that also affects whether good people actually want to run for office, including himself.

“I don’t know if that’s a commitment I want to make for my whole life to be included in that kind of stuff,” he said. “You give a certain degree of privacy that some people aren’t willing to give up. … I think that’s one big reason why some people don’t get involved in politics.”

As far as this season goes, Krebs said confidence is high. He said he believes this team could challenge Delta for a regional championship, something Lapel has never won.

“That’s really the ultimate goal,” he said. “It would mean a lot to us and to the school. We’re going out of the small-school mindset, and we’re thinking we’re just as good as any of these other guys out there.”

Krebs also is looking at life after high school, including his college choice. And, of course, at least one family member is helping him with that decision.

“Butler is my No. 1 one choice,” he said. “My sister went there, and she’s really pushing me — she’s like ‘Butler, or else you’re not in the family anymore’, figuratively speaking.”

He is also considering Purdue University and wants to stay local for school but is interested in a career that includes traveling.

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Rob Hunt covers news, sports and other happenings in South Madison County. He can be reached at rhunt@pendletontimespost.com or (765) 778-2324.