Northern Division I tennis has a new look this year.
Instead of two leagues with Division I and Division IA teams mixed together, each classification will have its own league, meaning Carson will play 11 matches against other large-school teams beginning with Thursday’s match (3 p.m.) at Spanish Springs.
‘We’ll be playing everybody once,” CHS boys coach Hal Wilkins said.
“The top eight go to the playoffs. I look at Reno, Galena and Manogue (as favorites). I would put us somewhere between fourth and sixth. We were third last year in our division.”
With Hug and North Valleys fielding incomplete teams, Carson needs to finish ahead of one other school to reach the top eight.
Wilkins returns five senior starters — Kyle Kunz, Jared Hearn, Trevor Sollberger, Jake Jones and Aaron Woodbury. Also expected to start on Thursday are Zach Simms, Tyler Warren, Taylor Saarem and Ryan Tomita.
“We have three different levels of players on this team,” Wilkins said.
“Kunz is on a level by himself. He had a pretty good summer; played a lot of junior tournaments. He’s better than anybody else we have.”
Kunz and Woodbury will play No. 1 doubles, while Hearn and Sollberger are the No. 2 team. Tomita and Simms will play No. 3 doubles. Jones will play No. 1 singles followed by Saarem and Warren.
Kunz is playing doubles, according to Wilkins, because it gives the CHS senior the best opportunity to reach state.
“Our best opportunity to go to state is in doubles,” Wilkins said. “Many of the kids (in Reno) take private lessons and have been playing since they were small. It’s tough to catch up to that level. Both Kyle and Sollenberger were seeded in regionals last year. Unfortunately, both their partners have graduated.”
Girls have young team
Coach Diane Baker-Roberts returns 14 players, including four seniors, to this year’s squad. Of the 16 players, 11 are either freshmen or sophomores, making it one of the youngest Carson squads in recent memory.
Roberts said despite the youth, the team has an excellent chance at finishing in the top eight and making the regional team playoffs. Just like the boys, the girls need to beat one other team besides North Valleys and Hug.
“Reno is going to be tough,” Roberts said. “We’ll have to change the lineup around for them. Galena I’m not sure about. We should be in the top eight for sure.”
Seniors Preeta Amin, Amanda Breen, Sahara Winder and Abbey Dudley are back in the fold. Top sophomores are Anya Woodbury, Shaylin Segura and Emma Breeding. Top freshmen are Nancy Henrickson and Emily McCaskill. The only junior listed on the team roster is Camilla Antonucci.
At least on Thursday at home against Spanish Springs, Roberts will start Amin, Segura and Woodbury in singles. Breeding and Breen are expected to play doubles along with sophomore Anna Glenn and Winder. The third doubles spot is still up for grabs.
Other members of the team are Heather Lamotte. Elise Brady, Amanda Schulz and Mikaela Asby.
Roberts believes that some of her players, especially Amin, could seriously compete in the post-season with an attitude change.
“She (Amin) wants to play singles,” Roberts said.
“If I could get her interested in doubles ...”