Sports

Jefferson tennis looks like the team to beat

By CASEY OLSON

Sports editor

This could be a special year for the Thomas Jefferson girls tennis team, according to longtime coach Andrew Buchan.

“This could be the strongest girls tennis team at TJ since 1999,” Buchan said.

The 1999 edition of the Raiders finished the season with a perfect 14-0 record in the South Puget Sound League and placed second at the Class 4A state tournament.

Jefferson will be led by a solid group of four players, which includes senior Katie Schultz, sophomore Corinna Fabre and juniors Uyen Tran and Leisha Muraki. Schultz, Fabre and Tran all played in the West Central District Tournament a season ago.

“(They) are the strongest foursome in the league,” Buchan said.

The Raiders finished up in second place in the SPSL South last year to the Curtis Vikings with an 11-3 record. Schultz and Fabre will team up to make the No. 1-doubles team and Tran and Muraki will fill the No. 2 slot. Jefferson also returns senior Trichell Waldo, who will team with newcomer Lacey Lowber on the doubles’ court.

Sophomores Sarah Lee and Claudia Miernowski will occupy the two singles slots for the Raiders. Both are newcomers to the Jefferson program.

“We will challenge for the title,” Buchan said. “In the least it will be a fun season,” Buchan said.

Jefferson travels to Federal Way tomorrow.

Decatur

The Gators should be one of the most improved teams in the SPSL South. The Decatur girls tennis team finished up with a 5-9 record a season ago, but the Gators return seven of their top players, including singles star Jamie Chan.

“We will scare a few teams and we can compete with the best if everyone has a good day,” coach Steve Escame said.

Joining Chan, who has played at the district tournament the last two seasons, will be seniors Jill Yotz, Juli Eubanks, Amanda Font, Liz Phung and Dan-Vy Le and junior Amanda Meadows. Yotz will play doubles with Font and Meadows will play with Phung.

“We have a little more experience this year than last,” Escame said. “But we have no strong back-up players should someone not become available.”

Helping out the Gators’ depth will be the addition of junior Alison Iwasaki, an All-SPSL volleyball player.

“As usual, Jefferson will be the team to beat since many of them have been playing steadily since their season finished last year,” Escame said. “Emerald Ridge and Beamer should be strong.”

The Gators play tomorrow at home against Beamer.

Beamer

The Todd Beamer girls tennis team is going to surprise some people in the SPSL South. The Titans will have the youngest team in the league that won’t include any seniors, but they will not be totally inexperienced.

Beamer will have the services of sophomores Megan Havili and Ann Nguyen. The pair saw action on the Federal Way High School tennis team that finished with an 8-5 record in the South last year. Havili actually played a bulk of the season as the No. 1-singles player for the Eagles. Beamer will also be helped out by freshman Judy Liening.

The Titans didn’t get any breaks from the schedule makers in the SPSL South. Beamer opened its season Tuesday against preseason favorite Jefferson and travels to Decatur tomorrow.

Federal Way

The Federal Way girls tennis team returns plenty of talent from a team that finished in third place in the SPSL South with an 8-5 record. Back for the Eagles are seniors Stephanie Raghubeer, Kristin Yates and Karen Lee and junior Chelsea White. Yates played at the Class 4A State Tennis Championships last season with doubles partner Danielle Yellam, who graduated.

But the Eagles did lose a lot of talent. Gone are Tine Dismer, Yellam, Megan Havili (transferred to Beamer) and Ann Nguyen (transferred to Beamer).

The Eagles will host the preseason favorite Jefferson Raiders tomorrow.

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