Girls tennis: Trojans offer new avenues for growth
BY AARON HAGEN
WORTHINGTON -- With no seniors on this year’s roster, the Worthington girls tennis team will be young.
“We had kind of a younger mix last year, so now they are stepping up and in,” head coach Mike Marquardt said.. “I want to say with where we’re at right now, we have our singles lineup pretty much determined. I have three juniors and a sophomore. For doubles, I’m going to have some younger students fitting in. We’re going to be young.”
The Trojans do have a good group of juniors, which will help fill out the lineup.
“We have a lot of young girls coming up that are rough around the edges but they are feisty,” Marquardt said. “You can’t teach it. You either have it or you don’t. You’re either aggressive or you’re not. I’m looking forward to it. We’ll definitely take some bumps and bruises, but I think you have to put in your time. I think we’ll see growth throughout the whole year and I’m looking forward to the challenges we’ll have.”
Marquardt points to Maggie Putnam, Kessey Aljets, Cynthia Souksavath and Madison Johnson as the leading contenders for singles.
In doubles, he has Jasmine Riley, Marah Darling, Cindy Hernandez, Perla Rodriguez, Ivy Jenson, Neveah Schreiber, Madison Schaffer and Calah Riley slated to round out the three teams.
“With the girls being young, I’m excited for the year. I understand score-wise what might happen. But I’m just jacked because you’re going to get all the matches you need to get in, but you can also see them improve during the practice. I’m excited, it’s just a good bunch of girls,” the coach said.
“It’s one of those double edged swords. We’re young, but if you think about it, having the young kids, we’re also going to learn a lot right away,” Marquardt said. “I’m just anxious to get the girls out there and see what they can do.”
In the area, both Luverne and Pipestone Area return a solid core from a year ago.
For Luverne, Carissa Cunningham, Riley Severtson, Ainslie Robinson, Liz Kelm, Brynn Thier, Mela Jarchow and Elise Jarchow will see time in singles.
"After Carissa, we have a whole bunch of players that have seen experience and who will figure into the other positions throughout the season," LHS head coach Greg Antoine said. "It is a good position to be in as a coach because there is a whole lot of competition for the remaining spots and that will just make us all better in the end."
The doubles will be anchored by Roz Oye, who saw action at No. 1 doubles a year ago. Lauren VerSteeg, Solveig Tofteland, Kacie Kracht, Mia Wenzel are people who could figure into the doubles picture.
For the Arrows, head coach Ed Gustafson had an experienced group with a large group of seniors on the roster.
Paige Ahrendt, Lauren Lapthorn, Carmen Skyberg, Courtney Kanthak, Adrianna Johnson and Maciah Lorang are slated to be some of the top performers.