Sports

Raiders ready for run at title repeat

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

The Thomas Jefferson tennis team has developed into one of the best programs in the South Puget Sound League South Division. The tradition should continue this season.

The Raiders, who were the co-champions along with Emerald Ridge last year, return five varsity players from their 13-1 team.

“That gives us power and depth,” said longtime coach Andrew Buchan.

Leading the list of returners for the Raiders is junior Corinna Fabre. As a sophomore, Fabre finished up in sixth place at the state championships along with partner Katie Schultz (currently playing at the University of Puget Sound). Fabre will spend most of this season as TJ’s No. 1-singles player, according to Buchan.

“(She) is one of the top players in the league and last year’s experience at state has given her the confidence to compete at the highest level,” he said.

Also back will be the senior doubles team of Leisha Muraki and Uyen Tran, along with juniors Sarah Lee and Claudia Miernowski. Lee finished 12-2 last year and Miernowski was 11-2 playing a mix of singles and doubles.

Buchan will also be counting on several newcomers to the program, including Mimy Tu, Hillary Ison, Darcy Idler, Anna Wilson and Kristin Lulich.

“The newcomers are experienced summer league and junior varsity players and should do well at the bottom of the order,” Buchan said.

The Raiders should battle again with Emerald Ridge for the SPSL South title. Emerald Ridge returns all their significant players, including the best player in the league, Rachel Owens. But Beamer, Decatur and Federal Way could also make some noise, according to Buchan.

“Overall, the Federal Way school district should dominate the SPSL South, with the exception of Emerald Ridge.”

The Raiders open their season Tuesday at home against Rogers.

Decatur

The Gators might have one of the largest teams in the state, in terms of participation numbers. Head coach Steve Escame had 70 girls sign up to play tennis for Decatur.

Escame hopes the large turnout will equal some victories in the South Puget Sound League South Division. The Gators finished in third place in the South last year with an 11-5 record.

Numbers aside, the Gators do have a lot of talent at the top of their roster — starting with Jamie Chan.

The senior won the singles title at last year’s SPSL South Tournament and ended up fourth at districts. Seniors Liz Phung and Amanda Meadows will occupy the No. 1-doubles spot. Last year, Phung and Meadows played a bulk of the season as the No. 2 team.

“We have strong points at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles, but two points don’t win matches,” Escame said. “If some people develop and are competitive at the lower points, we should pick up a few wins.”

Decatur also returns seniors Allison Iwasaki, Jessica Llarenas, Alexandra Chraca, junior Jill Humes and sophomore J’aime Moehlman. Escame will also be counting on senior Andrea Carey, who lettered as a sophomore but didn’t turn out last year.

The Gators open their season Tuesday at Federal Way.

Beamer

Just two years into the program’s history, the Todd Beamer girls tennis team should have at least a shot at winning the school’s first South Puget Sound League South Division sports title.

The Titans finished their inaugural season with an 8-6 record.

“We look like we will be able to compete with the top teams in the division,” said head coach Jeff Richards. “We have a very deep team this year.”

Judy Liening and Megan Havili should provide the Titans with two automatic points during a bulk of their SPSL South matches. After playing a large portion of the season as Beamer’s No. 1 and 2 singles players, the two combined before the postseason and eventually finished as the fourth-place team at the Class 4A doubles tournament.

“They will possibly team up again this year to make a run at the state title,” Richards said.

Other returners for Beamer include junior Ann Nguyen and sophomore Sam Bowman. The pair should occupy the No. 1 doubles position. Richards will also be counting on newcomers Angela Suh and Esther Song, both freshmen.

“Our keys to wins this year will be the development of our

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