Tomah High School girls tennis coach Ben Bannan couldn’t ask for a more robust senior class.
Ten seniors are the foundation of a Timberwolves squad that brings lots of experience into the 2019 season. Bannan said the class is deep in terms of roster size and character.
“It’s a great senior class, not just in numbers but also personality-wise and leadership-wise,” Bannan said.
Nine letterwinners return from last season, when the Timberwolves finished sixth in the MVC.
The Timberwolves must replace Lillie McMullen, their number-one singles player from last season, and Haley Bradley, a member of their number-one doubles team. The frontrunner for the top singles spot is Cadence Thompson, a sophomore who filled the number-two slot last season. Bannan said Thompson covers a lot of ground on the tennis court.
“Her strength is always getting to stuff,” Bannan said. “She has long arms and gets to balls you don’t think that she will.”
Also back are senior Whitney Kuehl and junior Kendra Lene, who filled the third and fourth varsity singles slots in 2018. Newcomer Olivia Czarnecki is also making a bid for a varsity spot.
“Olivia has been making a lot of noise as a freshman,” Bannan said.
Senior Morgan Arch will probably return to her number-one doubles spot and team up with Deidre Martin, who played number-two doubles last year and will likely move up and replace Bradley. Arch and Bradley finished fourth at last year’s MVC meet, which was Tomah’s highest finish.
Another player in the varsity picture is senior Brittney Krog, who lettered as a freshman and sophomore but lost her junior season to a knee injury.
Other letterwinners vying for varsity spots are seniors Allison Batten, Jordan Kuehl and Madeline Kuhl and sophomore Macy Arch. Bannan said sophomore Sabin Steinhoff is also pushing for varsity time.
“We’re going to be solid all the way through,” Bannan said. “There’s no one spot I can pick out where we’re going to be weak.”
The others will compete at the junior varsity level, where Bannan expects them to be competitive players. He said there are relatively few beginners on the squad.
“Even some of our players coming back who didn’t letter last year have been with the program and have experience,” Bannan said. “I’m doing a lot less teaching this year, and we’re playing more matches at practice.”
Filling out the squad are:
Seniors—Hailey Franz, Suchi Patel, Tayler Schluesener, Lauren Von Arx.
Juniors—Andrea Mears, Sydney Schroeder.
Sophomores—Chesnee Klinkner, Keyanna Klinkner, Eva Aquinaga.
Despite finishing toward the bottom of the MVC last season, the Timberwolves were successful in the nonconference slate and finished with an 8-7 overall dual record. Bannan said the goal this season is to improve on last year’s 1-5 MVC mark and improve on last year’s 19 points at the conference meet.
Bannan also wants to build on the character of the squad. He’s proud of the way his athletes conduct themselves on the court.
“In tennis, players have to make their own calls on the court, and we want to stress the integrity part,” Bannan said. “We want to develop our players − not just as good players, but good people.”
Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at email@example.com.
MVC GIRLS TENNIS
Final 2018 standings