The 2022 girls tennis season ended in heartbreak for Columbus North after a 3-2 semistate loss to Jasper.
The Bull Dogs look to again be solid this season, while the other area teams are seeking improvement. Here is a look at them heading into the 2023 season:
The Bull Dogs went 16-4 last season, winning Conference Indiana, sectional and regional titles and finishing with a No. 3 state ranking. They lost four seniors from the varsity lineup, including three-time Republic Girls Tennis Player of the Year Ashlie Wilson, a state singles semifinalist who now is playing at Purdue.
“We’ll be OK this year,” North coach Kendal Hammel said. “I’m not really sure how we’re going to fare against better teams overall. Are we going to be as strong as last year? Probably not. We’re not going to have the experience, but hopefully, they’ve improved a lot from last year. It will be interesting to see how we stand.”
Stepping into Wilson’s spot at No. 1 singles will be her sister, junior Kathryn Wilson. Kathryn Wilson went 22-0 at No. 2 singles and 1-1 at No. 1 singles last season.
Sophomore Aya Saad likely will move from No. 3 to No. 2 singles. Sophomore Annabelle Sun, who played mostly No. 2 doubles last year, and freshman Lucy Bergman could be at No. 3 singles or No. 1 doubles.
Senior Siri Poludasu, who played some varsity singles and doubles as a sophomore, likely will be at No. 1 doubles. Battling for the other three doubles spots are sophomores Grace Conner and Lizzie Bodart, junior Lison Cloteaux and freshman Nino Akhalaya.
“We’ll have some experience with Kathryn and Aya as tournament players and as varsity players with Annabelle,” Hammel said. “Then, Siri has had a little bit of varsity experience. Then, the other spots are going to be kind of up in the air. I have a couple of nice freshmen coming in with Lucy and Nino, so we’ll see how it goes.”
The Olympians will look for a few more wins this season after going 1-15 last year.
“Keeping the girls we had with another year of experience and adding a couple of new girls, I’m excited to see what we can come up with this year,” East coach Matt Malinsky said.
Freshman Lauren Degner likely will step in at No. 1 or 2 singles. Senior Katie Hong and junior Ruth Federle also return to the lineup and could fill the other two singles spots.
Columbus East’s Shruthika Kumar hits a shot in a No. 2 singles sectional tennis match at Columbus North High School in Columbus, Ind., Thursday, May 19, 2022.
The Republic file photo
Seniors Shruthika Kumar and Katey Rieckers likely will start the season at No. 1 doubles. Junior move-in Sara Moran, junior Betsy Hoene and seniors Ashlynn Waddle, Ali Gribbins and Avery Brooks are battling for the No. 2 doubles spots.
“We’re working hard trying to get as much playing in as we can with the rain,” Malinsky said. “So far, it’s a situation where some of those varsity spots are pretty competitive. We have some depth at some of our positions that we can utilize if we have injuries. They have some competition going on for most of those spots.”
The Jets hope to battle for the Mid-Hoosier Conference title after going 10-10 last season.
Junior Bella Kilps returns at No. 1 singles position. Senior Charlie Clark will move from No. 1 doubles to No. 2 singles.
“Look out for Clark at the No. 2 spot,” Hauser coach Molly Crabtree said. “She really has a knack for knowing how to win matches.”
Junior Lydia Jordan returns at No. 3 singles. Juniors Mattie Foster and Addyson Barringer likely will step into the No. 1 doubles position.
Battling for the No. 2 singles spots are juniors Gracie Blair, Kayden Miller, Abby Blair and Dorie Shoaf and seniors Piper Rowell and Yulia Karkusha.
“I’m excited to see what a new season brings,” Crabtree said. “It will be fun to watch them grow individually and as a team as the season progresses. We definitely will be in the mix to win team conference.”
Like Columbus North, the Panthers will have a No. 2 singles player taking over for her sister at No. 1 singles.
Junior Tatum Brown, who went 19-4 at No. 2 singles, replaces Reagan Brown, who led Jennings to an 11-13 team record last season.
Freshman Kaydence Lowman steps in at No. 2 singles. Sophomore Mia Silvey returns at No. 3 singles.
Junior Makenzey Carr likely will be at No. 1 doubles. Freshman Gabi Morin, sophomore Joceyln Valdovinos and juniors Joline Chen and Trina Collins are battling for the other three doubles spots.
“We’ll be young,” Jennings coach Deron Brown said. “We’ll be learning. We’ll be growing. We have a lot of questions in the doubles. Hopefully, at the end of the season, we’ll be more of a finished product than we are at the beginning.”
The Eagles will look for an outright Western Indiana Conference title after sharing the crown last season. They return four varsity regulars from a team that went 12-8.
Juniors Anna Stogsdill and Anna Tipton are back at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, and senior Katie Tipton returns at No. 1 doubles. Senior Londyn Koester, who was injured last season, will join Katie Tipton at No. 1 doubles.
Junior Julia Burt will play singles or doubles. Battling for the other two varsity spots are juniors Cady Kemp and Ava Kelly and senior Hannah deWeerdt.
“We return an experienced group of players at all positions,” Brown County coach Thom Miller said.
The Lancers are shooting for an outright MHC title after winning a share of it last year.
Junior Jessica Walsh played No. 2 singles last season, when Edinburgh went 10-6 as a team. Senior Jillian Turner played No. 1 doubles, and senior Gracie Myers and junior Zoey Sida were at No. 2 doubles.
Juniors Izzy Richardson and Lily Turner, sophomore Mia Dodson and freshmen Gracie Lawson and Bella Turner are battling for the other varsity spots.
“This season, we are focused on building off what we accomplished last year,” Edinburgh coach Rachel O’Brien said. “We have been in the weight room. We have been working on improving our footwork, hand-eye coordination drills and drills that work on endurance. Last year, we had a winning record, captured a share of the Mid-Hoosier Conference championship, won against many competitive teams, relied on each other, cheered each other on, and all of that combined builds a lot of confidence on and off the tennis court.”
The Cougars have a new head coach in Jayme Lowe, who has been an assistant the past two seasons.
Senior Siddha Hall, who sat out last year after transferring from Seymour, could take over at No. 1 singles. Junior Drew Hubbard was at No. 2 singles last year. Sophomore Layla Jones could play No. 3 singles.
Junior Kiley Zabel and sophomore Carson Bowling return at No. 1 doubles, and junior Natalie Martinez is back at No. 2 doubles. Senior Samantha Enzinger could join her at No. 2 doubles, and freshman Emily Keller also could see varsity action.
“The girls have been working really hard,” Lowe said. ”I’m hopeful that we’re going to have some success this season, but also, it could be a building season. All of our returners want to continue the success that they’ve had the past few seasons. All of that is encouraging and driving the whole team.”
The 2023 girls tennis schedules for Bartholomew County schools:
Saturday;at New Albany;10 a.m.
Wednesday;Bloomington North;6 p.m.
April 6;at Jeffersonville;5:30 p.m.
April 7;Brown County;4:30 p.m.
April 10;at Columbus North;4:30 p.m.
April 11;at Shelbyville;5:30 p.m.
April 13;Seymour;4:45 p.m.
April 17;at Greensburg;5 p.m.
April 18;Whiteland;5 p.m.
April 20;Madison;5 p.m.
April 24;Jennings County;5 p.m.
April 25;at Franklin;5 p.m.
April 27;at Greenwood;5 p.m.
May 1;Bedford North Lawrence;5:30 p.m.
May 3;East Central;5 p.m.
May 4;at Batesville;5 p.m.
May 8;at BNL in HCC tourney;5 p.m.
May 10;TBA in HHC tourney;5 p.m.
May 12;TBA in HHC tourney;5 p.m.
Tuesday;Center Grove;5:30 p.m.
April 6;at Seymour;4:45 p.m.
April 10;Columbus East;4:30 p.m.
April 11;Floyd Central;5 p.m.
April 14;at Lawrenceburg;9 a.m.
April 15;at Jeffersonville;9 a.m.
April 17;at Bloomington North;6 p.m.
April 18;Southport;5:30 p.m.
April 20;at Scottsburg;6 p.m.
April 22;at Park Tudor Invitational;9 a.m.
April 24;Oldenburg Academy;5 p.m.
April 25;at North Oldham (Ky.);6 p.m.
April 28;at Avon Invitational;6 p.m.
April 29;at Avon Invitational;9 a.m.
May 1;vs. Terre Haute South at Bloomington North;6 p.m.
May 2;at Bloomington South;6 p.m.
May 5;vs. Terre Haute North at Bloomington South;6 p.m.
May 8;vs. Carmel at Perry Meridian;5:30 p.m.
Monday; vs. Oldenburg Academy at Batesville;5:30 p.m.
Tuesday;Jennings County;5 p.m.
April 8;at Brown County Invitational;9 a.m.
April 12;at Greensburg;5 p.m.
April 13;at Edinburgh;4:30 p.m.
April 15;at Batesville;9 a.m.
April 17;Morristown;5 p.m.
April 18;at Rushville;5 p.m.
April 20;at Waldron;4:30 p.m.
April 24;at Madison;5:30 p.m.
April 25;Beech Grove;5:30 p.m.
April 27;at Trinity Lutheran;5:30 p.m.
May 1;at Indianapolis Lutheran;4:30 p.m.
May 8;Shelbyville;4:30 p.m.
May 9;Indian Creek;4:30 p.m.
May 11;Southwestern (Shelby);4:30 p.m.
May 13;MHC Tournament;9 a.m.
May 16;Triton Central;4:30 p.m.