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TENNIS PREVIEW: Jefferson shooting for yet another SPSL Central championship
Thomas Jefferson Raiders
Coach: Andrew Buchan (24th season)
Last year's record: 9-0 (first in SPSL Central)
Top returners: Michelle Lee (senior), Cindy Park (junior), Alice Kim (senior), Toni Mullen (senior), Gloria Oh (junior), Amanda Ziccarelli (senior), Nichelle Song (senior), Coco Hernandez-Tagoe (junior), Rileigh Qualls (sophomore).
Key newcomer: Crystal Lee (freshman).
Key losses: Krista Nakamura, Breanna Ziccarelli.
Notable: The Raiders rolled through the SPSL Central Division with a perfect record a season ago and are the favorites to do it again. Jefferson loses only two players who saw any significant varsity time last year.
"We return almost everyone and should be one of the better teams in the entire SPSL," said Buchan.
Leading the list is junior Cindy Park, who Buchan calls the second-best player in the league. Park was a state qualifier two years ago and was eliminated at the district tournament last season. Park will play on TJ's No. 1 doubles team with freshman Crystal Lee, according to Buchan.
Also back are district qualifier Michelle Lee, who will play No. 2 singles this year, and sophomore Rileigh Qualls, who will be the Raiders' top singles player. Coco Hernandez-Tagoe and Gloria Oh are set to play No. 2 doubles.
Federal Way Eagles
Coach: Josh Agapalza (third season)
Last year's record: 0-9 (sixth in SPSL Central)
Top returners: Nina Longman, Marie Carmelo, Rozelle Schwyhart
Key newcomers: Anna Rodriguez, Eva Barth, Rabi Camara, Rachel Schwyhart, Christina Senaphanh.
Key losses: Lauren Lang, Mina Park, Allie Bentler, Jessica Bone.
Notable: The Eagles failed to win a match last season, but should be improved. Anna Rodriguez and Eva Barth should occupy the two singles positions for the Eagles.
Coach: Patrick Nam (second season)
Last year's record: 7-3 (second in SPSL Central)
Top returners: Kiele Bowman (senior), Nicole Bowman (senior), Kylie Fisher (senior), Jenny Hoefel (senior), Tori Kaufman (senior), Jenifer Tray (senior), Alyssa Tyson (senior), Lindsey Tyson (senior).
Key newcomers: Heidi Kim (sophomore), Taylor Verosa (sophomore).
Key losses: Taylor Lunka
Notable: Hoefel and Bowman are looking to finish their stellar careers at Beamer with another trip to the Class 4A State Tournament. The pair finished 0-2 at state last year.
"The key to the success of this team is how quickly they can figure out and hone their potential skills," said Nam. "Much of this lies on mental strength and maturity of each player. In most part, the athletic ability and experience is there, but the fine tuning and polishing can be the difference between a win and loss and a season that ends in districts or state.
Coach: John Cassens
Last year's record: Not available
Top returners: Taylor Meadows (senior), Maddie Bergstrom (junior).
Key newcomers: None listed
Key losses: Jessica Kim, Alicia Hansen.
Notable: The Gators struggled in the SPSL 3A Division last year and this season could be pretty similar, according to head coach John Cassens.
Decatur returns Taylor Meadows and Maddie Bergstrom, but not much else.
"We will have fun getting better," Cassens said. "I don't have a good handle on my players' abilities yet. There are a lot of beginners."