2019 high school women’s tennis season opens for Stanly teams
Published 6:20 pm Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Five high school women’s tennis teams in Stanly opened the season this week looking for bigger things in 2019.
The Knights were undefeated in the Yadkin Valley Conference in 2018, going 17-2 overall and losing in the third round of the 1A dual team playoffs.
Zeb Bost is the team’s new head coach. A former Mount Pleasant player, Bost has played on numerous USTA and ALTA squads.
Gray Stone returns one of the top players in the state in two-time 1A singles runner-up, junior Emma Grace Bost, who was All-YVC, All-Region and All-State. The Knights also return another All-Conference selection in senior Mia Taggart.
Also returning are junior Ella Hedenskog and sophomores Caroline Garner and Shanden Plyler.
New to the team are Kensi Bell, Brooke Boger, Christina Gentile, Anna Hedenskog, Abby Morgan, Taylor Query, Emma Sparger, Sarah VanHorn and Molly Wilson. Ally Mauldin will assist as team manager.
“I am excited about this team of experienced and new talent,” Bost said. “I look forward to watching our ladies improve…I have high expectations.”
West finished 12-3 overall and 7-1, winning the Rocky River Conference under third-year head coach Vanessa Shields. The Colts also had a doubles duo and one individual play in the 2A regionals.
Six players return for West including senior Selah Hunsucker, juniors Morgan Edwards, Meredith Harwood, Riley Smith and Celisse Saldana along with sophomore Maryn Mauldin.
Shields said she is proud of the team’s work. West “looks to a favorable season,” adding the Colts “hope to add” to last year’s success.
The Comets finished second in the YVC in 2018, going 16-3 overall and 14-2 in conference matchups. North lost in the second round of the 1A dual playoffs.
Head coaches Meredith Currie and Nancy Napier lost two seniors from last season’s squad, Faith Wang and Shiny Vang, along with a potential starter in Rylee Hudson.
Returning are seniors Elithe Hudson and Katie Earnhardt, along with juniors Andi Billingsley, Josie Luther, Courtney Smith and Bailey Smith.
Haley Isenhour will be in the running for a starting position. Others returning to the Comets include Maddie Waggoner, Maddie Smith and Emma Shue.
Newcomers include freshman Rhiannon Trent, Jaitlyn Karriker and Gracie Earnhardt.
“The Comets look very strong at this point. They’ve worked on their strokes and fitness throughout the summer, and are ready for a great season,” Napier said.
The Bulls under head coach Carla McSwain went 12-4 overall and in league play finished third in the YVC in 2018.
Two seeded players graduated from last year’s squad, Konner Napier and Keely Salmon.
Returning for the Bulls are sophomore Jacy Noble, seniors Huntley Rumage, Hailey McNeill and Ruth Fallen and juniors Rachel Huneycutt and Chasity Hartsell.
McSwain said South “welcomes some new blood” with this freshman class, including Reese Whitley, Alyssa Johnson, Joni King and Braxlee Russell.
“Our goals this year are to improve on our third place conference finish and hopefully qualify some folks for the regional tournament,” McSwain said.
In the first season under head coach Vivian Bridges in 2018, the Bulldogs won two matches.
Returning for Albemarle are sophomores Itza Ochoa (1); Hailey Bird (2), Allison Little (3) and sophomore Natalie Sedano (4). Ashley Barcenas is an incoming freshman who will be at the No. 5 spot for the Bulldogs.
Karmalan Wilder is team captain, a junior whom Bridges said the team is “grateful to have back after a serious car accident.”
Four newcomers to the team are senior Morgan Billingsley, junior Lana Vang and freshmen Andrea Martinez and Katherine Aparicio.