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Carson tennis teams ready for season

Carson High boys tennis coach Jeff Evans had a unique way of describing what it’s been like waiting for his freshmen and sophomores to become juniors and seniors over the last two years.

“It’s like waiting for your 16th birthday so you can drive,” he said.

The next two years look bright for the Carson boys, with a junior dominated team this year. The Carson girls tennis team also has an experienced group that hopes to be among Northern Nevada’s top teams this year.

While the Carson boys haven’t exactly taken their lumps – they did finish over .500 last year – there’s a sense of anticipation about this year’s team.

But Carson did miss out on the Northern Nevada zone playoffs last year and that’s something it wants to rectify this season.

“I’m really excited to see what these kids can do this year,” Evans said. “They wanted to be more physically fit for matches. They just want to be stronger.

“They showed me that they’re ready to go. They definitely want to go further than they did last year. We’ve got some kids that are really hitting the ball well. They’re bigger and stronger than they were last year.”

The top two singles players for the boys and girls teams have the potential to be among Northern Nevada’s top players. Josh Brekken and Andy Araza will lead the boys while Polly Johnson and Natalie Rogers will lead the girls.

“I think they expect big things of themselves, too,” said Evans about Brekken and Araza.

“She should be a top caliber player,” said Carson girls coach Kincaid DeJoseph about Johnson.

“She’s really progressed this year,” DeJoseph also said about Rogers. “I think she’ll be a top player.

“I think she’s going to be a real strong player. She’s going to be tough to beat.”

Ash Dauenhauer figures to be figures to be the boys’ No. 3 singles player, although he could be used for doubles as well.

Evans said Zach Caron will probably play doubles along with John McDonald and Karl Schulz.

“He’ll be my anchor in my doubles,” said Evans about Schulz. “He’ll be pretty solid there.”

Barron Brooks, Adam Henningsen and Tim Suchsland should round out Carson’s top nine players. Other top players should include Todd Crowell, Devon Anderson, Abe Gissen, Andy Roullard and Jeremy Grunert.

Defending state champion Galena returns its top two players, but Evans said the Grizzlies may not be as deep as they were last year. But he also said Reno will be as tough as ever.

While the goal is always to win, Evans said logically the goal is to finish second in league play behind Reno. As far as a run to the state playoffs, Evans said it should never be counted out, but that his focus is on just making the zone playoffs.

Evans said his team also has several players who have the potential to make state in singles and doubles.

“I think you’ve got a number of kids if they play well together, definitely,” said Evans about making it to state.

Tara Haddan figures to be the girls No. 3 singles player. Other top returners include Denise Rikalo and Maura O’Neill. Among the top new players are Jenae Jeppson, Michelle VanEpps and Kelsey Joyce.

“I have a lot of returners,” DeJoseph said. “I do have more depth this year. I think they’ll all be good, strong players.”

DeJoseph said his team should be able to play for second in league play behind Reno.

“I think we’ll contend for anywhere from second to fourth,” DeJoseph said. “But there’s a lot of good teams.”

Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor.