Tennis brings experienced squad to regional

Emma Frey | @_emmafrey_

Tennis will enter the postseason Friday, participating in the regionals meet at Smoky Valley in Lindsborg. 

“I feel good about our team, but I definitely know our regional is very tough,” head coach Brendan Praeger said. The team is looking forward to the competition, but knows it could be tough to send players to state. “This is the most experienced team I’ve ever had,” Praeger said, “They’ve been in this position before and know the challenges.” With seven senior players, many have the experience needed to perform well.

The team is bringing two singles players and two doubles teams to regionals. Senior Lily Ogden will enter regionals with a record of 15-15. “She’s played really well all season, almost all her losses have been to really good players or have been close,” Praeger said. Being her 3rd year playing singles at regionals, Ogden knows what it takes to move forward in the meet. The other singles player, senior Jayna Keller, spent most of the season playing doubles. Keller has a singles record of 5-9 but has improved a lot in the last few weeks. “I’m hoping she draws a good first-round matchup,” Praeger said. “She’s probably the most-improved player on our entire team.”

Seniors Kendyl Bolinder and Raegan Feyh will play at regionals as a doubles team. The two seniors played at the state meet last year and carry a record of 17-11 this season. Praeger said the duo is tough to beat when they play their best. “They beat a really good team from Marysville Saturday, so I hope they can carry that momentum into next week. They have the experience and know what it takes to move on,” Praeger said.

The final doubles team attending regionals is senior Brianna DeVader and junior Mayah Mumpower. The two didn’t pair up until late in the season but have a strong record of 10-3. “They’ve been exciting to watch and they work well together,” Praeger said. “They have been pretty even with Kendyl and Raegan during practices, so I think both teams have a chance at success Friday.

The regional format for tennis looks a little different this season. KSHSAA modified to format due to COVID-19. Matches will be shorter and only four singles players and double teams will move on to state, instead to the usual six. “It was disappointing to see the changes, as it squeezes our margin for error,” Praeger said. “But we never go into a tournament hoping to place sixth, and it’s not something we can control. If they are ready to play on Friday, all of our entries will be tough to beat. No one will go to state without winning some tough matches, just like every other year.”

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