Last week’s rain prevented some of the area’s girls tennis teams from getting in their much-needed challenge matches, which go a long way toward determining what positions the girls will start the season playing.

Still, the season begins today with Trinity Lutheran traveling to Austin. Most of the other area schools, including Columbus East and Columbus North, start Tuesday.

Here is a look at the prospects for area schools:

Columbus North

The Bull Dogs just missed a trip to state last season, falling 3-2 to eventual state runner-up Providence in the Jasper Semistate. North went 20-5, with all five losses coming against top-10 teams.

“I think we have a team that can at least get back to semistate and possibly take that one more step and get to state,” North coach Kendal Hammel said.

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Six of the seven regulars return, led by four-year varsity players Madelyn Sanders and Yijaing Zhao. Sanders, who played No. 2 singles last year, and Zhao, who played No. 3 singles, are battling to replace Aubrey Smith, who spent the past four years at No. 1 singles.

Beyond that, Hammel isn’t certain how he will configure the rest of his lineup. Juniors Shweta Srinivasan and Servanne Cloteaux played No. 1 doubles last season, and sophomores Eva Chevalier and Ali Bergman played No. 2 doubles, but they could play different positions this year.

Senior Ellen Carson saw some varsity action last season. She is battling for a varsity spot, along with junior Jenna Jarnigan; sophomores Paige Bishop, Mariana Martinez, Cassidy May and Erica Song and freshman Jaline Tay.

“Team-wise, I think we’re going to be pretty good,” Hammel said. “We’re about 12 deep. We’re missing that strong No. 1 player like we’ve had in past years, but we have some very good players at the top, and we have some strong depth.”

Columbus East

The Olympians are coming off their first Hoosier Hills Conference title in 35 years. Four varsity players return from that team that went 15-4 and lost to North in the sectional final.

“I think it will certainly come as a challenge to repeat some of those benchmarks with losing all of the experience we did,” East coach Matt Malinsky said. “But we still have plenty of talent on the roster to win plenty of matches this year.”

Junior Megna Chari returns for her third year at No. 1 singles. Sophomore Kathryn Hodzen, who played No. 1 doubles, could play there again or at No. 2 singles.

Senior Maddy Rhodes played No. 2 doubles, and sophomore Emie Kiser saw a little action at that position. Each could play singles or doubles.

Senior Jenna Shoaf, junior Lindsey Hoffman and freshman Louna Prince likely will fill the remaining three varsity spots.

“We have some freshmen who came in that are inexperienced,” Malinsky said. “They’re working hard. It’s just the best way to construct the roster to get to three points every time.”

Hauser

The Jets return six varsity players from a team that went 6-4 and tied with Southwestern (Shelby) for the Mid-Hoosier Conference title.

Senior Alana Owen returns at No.1 singles. Senior Madie Sherman and junior Catherine Bruer, who played No. 2 and No. 3 singles last season, will flip positions.

Senior Sarah Tedder returns at No. 1 doubles and will team with junior Abby Johnson, who played No. 2 doubles last season. Sophomores Melanie Taylor, who played some No. 2 doubles, and Kylie Lock will be at No. 2 doubles.

“Our three seniors on varsity are not only strong developed players, but they also give good advice to the underclassmen,” Hauser coach Molly Crabtree said. “We are a solid team with our sights set on an outright conference championship.”

Jennings County

The Panthers lost their No. 1 singles player, but return the other six from a team that went 9-7.

Senior Rebecca Driver will move from No. 2 to No. 1 singles, and junior Hailey Brown moves from No. 3 to No. 2 singles. Sophomore Ellie Hearne will move from No. 1 doubles to No. 3 singles.

Senior Maddy Hill returns at No. 1 doubles and will team with junior Callie Wilder, who moves up from No. 2 doubles. Junior Abigail DeCamp returns at No. 2 doubles and will be joined by junior Courtney Lykins or sophomore Abby Rowlett.

Senior Laura Campbell also could play some matches at doubles or singles.

“We have some good freshmen, too,” Jennings coach Deron Brown said. “I think everybody will be improved. It’s a matter of just getting some court time and seeing if we are improved.”

Brown County

The Eagles will look to climb over the .500 mark after going 8-8 and winning the Western Indiana Conference East Division and finishing second overall in the WIC.

Senior Hallee Miller returns at No. 1 singles. Senior Jacey Ferguson returns at No. 1 doubles and will team with junior Baelyn Koester, who played No. 3 singles last year.

Sophomore Olivia Baughman and Cassidy Davis and freshman Julia Williams are battling for the No. 2 and No. 3 singles spots. Davis also could play No. 2 doubles, along with sophomore Grace Baughman and senior Leah Tucker.

“I think it will help us to compete at a higher level,” Brown County coach Thom Miller said. “We’ve strengthened our schedule a little bit more. We do need to work on our weaknesses and put in the work over a long period of time to compete at a high level.”

Edinburgh

The Lancers hope to be improved after going 1-15 last season.

Sophomore Sophia Parmer, who played singles and doubles, and sophomore Haley Jones, who played mostly singles, are battling for the No. 1 singles spot.

Junior Clara Carman, senior Paige Johnson and sophomores Haven Link and Katie Roberts saw a little varsity action. They are battling for the other varsity spots with a pair of newcomers — sophomore Destiney Ramey and freshman Anneliese Lollar.

“I think we’ll be better than last year,” Edinburgh coach Rachel O’Brien said. “They’re a really good group of girls. They bond really well together.”

Trinity Lutheran

Five varsity players are back from a team that went 2-11.

Senior Courtney Barker and junior Abby Schult return at No. 1 and No. 2 singles. Senior Lauren Voss moves from No. 2 doubles to No. 3 singles. Junior Lauren Fleetwood and senior Macey Prewitt return at No. 1 doubles.

“We have plenty of experience in those five players,” Trinity coach Mark Voss said. “They’ve played varsity for at least two years now, some of them more. We’re looking to hopefully be around .500 by the time sectional rolls. The ability for them to do it is there.”

Sophomore Cassidy Burnside and freshman Katelyn Mensendiek likely will begin the season at No. 2 doubles.

If you go

Girls tennis schedules for Bartholomew County schools:

Columbus East

  • Tuesday;at Edinburgh;5 p.m.
  • Wednesday;at Bloomington North;6 p.m.
  • Friday;at Brown County;4:30 p.m.
  • April 9;Columbus North;4:30 p.m.
  • April 10;Shelbyville;5:30 p.m.
  • April 12;at Seymour;4:45 p.m.
  • April 14;at Brownsburg Invitational;10 a.m.
  • April 16;Greensburg;5 p.m.
  • April 17;at Whiteland;5 p.m.
  • April 19;at Madison;5 p.m.
  • April 21;at Plainfield;10 a.m.
  • April 23;at Jennings County;5 p.m.
  • April 26;Greenwood;5 p.m.
  • April 30;at Bedford North Lawrence;5:30 p.m.
  • May 2;at East Central;5 p.m.
  • May 3;at Batesville;5:15 p.m.
  • May 7;Seymour in HHC tourney;5 p.m.
  • May 9;HHC Tourney;5 p.m.
  • May 11;at HHC Tourney;5:30 p.m.

Columbus North

  • Tuesday;at Center Grove;5 p.m.
  • Thursday;Seymour;5 p.m.
  • Saturday;at Floyd Central Invitational;11:30 a.m.
  • April 9;at Columbus East;4:30 p.m.
  • April 12;Perry Meridian;6 p.m.
  • April 13;at Jeffersonville Invitational;7 p.m.
  • April 14;at Jeffersonville Invitational;9 a.m.
  • April 16;Bloomington North;6 p.m.
  • April 18;at North Central;5:30 p.m.
  • April 19;at Southport;5:30 p.m.
  • April 25;at Greensburg;5 p.m.
  • April 26;at Franklin Central;5:30 p.m.
  • April 30;Terre Haute South at Bloomington North;5:45 p.m.
  • May 1;Bloomington South;6 p.m.
  • May 4;Terre  Haute North;6 p.m.
  • May 8;Carmel;5:30 p.m.
  • May 10;at Greenwood;5:30 p.m.
  • May 12;at Silver Creek;10:30 a.m.

Hauser

  • Tuesday;at Jennings County;5 p.m.
  • Saturday;at Brown County Invitational;9 a.m.
  • April 12;Edinburgh;4:30 p.m.
  • April 16;at Morristown;4:30 p.m.
  • April 19;Waldron;4:30 p.m.
  • April 23;Madison;5:30 p.m.
  • April 25;Trinity Lutheran;5:30 p.m.
  • April 30;at Indianapolis Lutheran;4:30 p.m.
  • May 8;at Indian Creek;4:30 p.m.
  • May 10;at Southwestern (Shelby);4:30 p.m.
  • May 12;MHC Tournament;9 a.m.
  • May 15;at Triton Central;4:30 p.m.
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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.