OH netters return depth to the court

They don’t have any district or state participants, but one thing the Oak Harbor girls tennis team won’t lack this season is depth.

The Wildcats will return nine varsity players to the courts for 2005.

“I’m very happy with our numbers,” OHHS head coach Horace Mells said.

Of those nine returners, Mells still isn’t sure where he will place different athletes.

As of Tuesday he had an idea, but still hadn’t decided on his four singles players or doubles teams.

Those expected to make an impact this year, however, are Kara Merriman, Pristine Santos and Kristi Goebel. All three competed in the WesCo North league tournament last year.

“We should do well, I like what I see with our girls,” Mells said.

Merriman is a favorite for the number one singles spot — Mells’ only concern lies with her health.

“Last year it was a foot, this year it’s an ankle,” he said. “If we keep her healthy she should do really well.”

Santos found success playing doubles with her sister, Lareese, who graduated last year. She is anticipated to be one of the top singles players this season, along with Goebel.

Other returners who will help out this year include: Mallie McCumber, Abigal Pruss, Amy Berg, Erin Jewell, Andrea Mora, Whitni Schurr and Corey Cook.

Along with the returners, the Wildcats also bring in some young players that Mells can see making an impact, if not this year, then definitely the next.

“We have some kids on the JV team that have the desire to step up and make something happen,” he said.

Mells is expecting the traditionally tough WesCo North division to keep its reputation this year.

Snohomish and Stanwood will be among the best, as they bring back the most experienced athletes.

“I think we can compete with the other schools,” Mells said.

Oak Harbor went 8-8 last year and is aiming even higher this time around.

“We are going to finish as high as we can,” Mells said.

The Wildcats begin their season against a tough league foe in Cascade at 3:45 p.m., Friday, March 25 at OHHS.

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