Carson High’s boys and girls tennis teams enjoyed successful seasons in 2015, and are looking to improve this season.
Both teams open the 2016 season today against perennial powerhouse Reno High School. The girls are at home and the boys are on the road. Both matches get under way at 3:30 p.m.
On the boys side, coach Hal Wilkins returns eight of his nine starters — Taylor Saarem, Nico Salm, Ryan Tomita, Danny Dudley, Jayson Artz, Henry Sturm, Jared Barnard and Stu McElhany — from a team that reached the regional semifinals a year ago. They knocked off Galena in the first round and then lost to Reno, 15-3.
Seniors Curtis Basa, Daniel Dudley and Nick Rosen plus sophomores Jacob Wolz, Jack Dudley and freshmen Bradley Wiggins and Devin Presley round out the starting lineup. Wilkins said the roster hasn’t been finalized because of transfer situations.
“We return a lot of our players, but a lot of other teams return a majority of their core,” Wilkins said. “It could make for a real competitive league season. We are still trying to establish the last couple of starting spots, and who is going to play doubles and who is going to play singles.
“Taylor Saarem and Nico Salm have improved since last season and are playing well. We also have a couple of younger players that are playing well in practice and competing with upper classmen for starting positions.”
Saarem reached the third round of regionals, while Barnard lost in the opening round. All three CHS doubles teams lost in the opening round.
Justin Clark, the second-year girls head coach, returns several players from last year’s fifth-place team. Carson dropped a close decision to Galena in the playoffs last year.
“Two years ago we were seventh and last year we were fifth,” Clark said. “We want to be in the top four this year. We want to continue getting better every year. We’re expected to be in the five again, but our goal is to be in the top two so we can make state.
“We have some strong senior leaders. We had a good turnout (24 players) this year.”
On the girls side, the top returners are Anna Glenn, Anya Woodbury, Emma Breeding, Elise Brady, Shaylin Segura and Heather Lamotte. Eleanor Sturm, Emma Rosen, Becca Trejo, Nancy Henricksen, Makaela Asby, Emily McCaskill, Amanda Schulz and McKenzie Henley are also being counted on to contribute heavily.
Henricksen and Asby are expected to comprise one doubles team, and McCaskill and Schulz comprise another. Clark said he’s still working on his No. 3 team.
Segura and Woodbury both went 1-1 at regionals last year. They’re Carson’s top two players.
Brady is also expected to play plenty of singles this season, and Trejo, a tested tournament player, is also expected to play a lot. She’s the only freshman on the squad.