Hopes run high: Good weather boon to tennis teamThe weather has cooperated so far for Pat Mullowney’s Blue Jay girls’ tennis teams.
By: Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
The weather has cooperated so far for Pat Mullowney’s Blue Jay girls’ tennis teams.
Now they need a few breaks, like staying healthy, and continued in-season improvement, and they might have something.
The Blue Jays have been able to practice outside almost every day, which has not been the case in recent years. Plus, with no true indoor facility, they always seemed behind the ball compared to the power-packed programs of the West Region that can go inside if necessary.
“The weather has been pretty cooperative and that’s been a big help to be able to get on the court and play,” Mullowney said. “Compared to the last few years, I think we’re in a pretty good position just in terms of how much time we’ve had on the court. Hopefully that plays to our advantage.”
Their first test comes today when they travel to Bismarck to face Century.
The lineup has a different look from last year. They were hit hard by graduation, but the healthy return of senior Sarah Muhs and junior Kara Fix will help offset those losses.
“Clearly getting those two girls back will help cushion the blow,” Mullowney said.
Muhs and Fix, plus sophomores Erin Mullowney and Jenna Reed, along with junior Anna Larson, have locked down the top 5 singles spots for now. Bailee Graves, Parinaz Kassemi, Maria LeFevre and Cassie Reidburn are challenging for the No. 6 spot.
“We want to stress competition within our team. That’s really important,” Mullowney said. “We’re always going to have the approach of giving players the opportunity to challenge up.
“We’re not just going to give stuff away. It has to be earned. It’s all about continuing to work hard and improve.”
Overall, the program has about 30 girls competing, over half of which are freshmen or younger.
“There’s a lot of promise in some of the younger kids,” Mullowney said. “I feel pretty good about where we’re at in terms of our numbers. But it takes commitment and drive and that’s not only during the spring, which is a 7 or 8-week season.”
He’s seen some of that offseason improvement that his critical to the success in the West.
“Some of our top returnees have improved their games,” Mullowney said. “You can’t just do this in the spring and expect it to all come together. It doesn’t work that way.”
A big reason for that is the always challenging West Region. Where they fit in will play itself out, but Mulloney sees reason for optimism.
“It’s tough sledding out there. There’s always a bunch of good teams, but we definitely want to be in the mix,” he said. “We always have goals and they’re no different this year. We have to be continually improving and hopefully be playing our best come regional time.
“We’ve already made some pretty nice strides since we started and now we need to go out and show it.”
Jamestown High School 2012 girls’ tennis
Coach: Pat Mullowney (3rd year)
Roster: Sarah Muhs, Sr.; Parinaz Kassemi, Sr.; Sierra Gilbertson, Sr.; Erica McQueen, Sr.; Julie Fuchs, Sr.; Jessica Church; Kara Fix, Jr.; Anna Larson, Jr.; Cassie Reidburn, Jr.; Beka Horgan, Jr.; Miah Dabill, Jr.; Erin Mullowney, Soph.; Jenna Reed, Soph.; Maria LeFevre, Soph. Julina Niemeier, Fr.; Sarah Wright, Fr.. Bailee Graves, 8th; Renada Krenzel, 8th; Brittany Carpenter, 8th; Jaslyn Fossen, 8th; Elizabeth Fremgen, 8th; Emily Lauringer, 8th; Leah Trautman, 8th; Taylor Webber, 8th; Ashley Wolfe, 8th. Megan Larson, 7th; Elizabeth Gilge, 7th; Medora Pringle, 7th; Kaitlyn Ripplinger, 7th; Ashley McNitt, 7th; Hannah Middaugh, 7th; Abby Sundeen, 7th.
Season-opener: Today at Bismarck Century.
Home-opener: April 26 vs. Bismarck, 4 p.m., Bolinger Courts.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org