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Spring prep preview: Oak Harbor tennis
Last spring the Oak Harbor High School tennis team returned only two letter winners, and, as expected, the young team struggled through a two-win season. This year, nine letter winners are back, and coach Horace Mells expects the win total to jump dramatically.
Returning are seniors Zena Maria Husler, Jamie Estrella, Faith Franssen, Chelsea Admire and Caterina Amsler; juniors Makenzie Perry, Alyssa Eden and Hannah Gluth; and sophomore AnnaBelle Whitefoot.
Perry and Husler teamed up to place sixth in the league doubles tournament last season.
Though it's early, the pair is projected to fill the top two singles spots this spring, Mells said.
Estrella will probably handle No. 3 singles and Whitefoot No. 4.
Franssen and Admire look to be the No. 1 doubles duo.
The other returnees will battle key newcomers senior Jastine Sanchez; juniors Erina Horikawa, Ellysa Bonganay and Patrice Woodworth; and sophomore Ria Bains to complete the doubles lineup, Mells said.
The team's strength, according to Mells, is the experience of the returning players. Its weakness, he said, "should only be temporary in doubles play while players are adjusting to their partners and developing styles of play."
"If I am able to get the majority of the players to peek their performance during practices and games, I will consider the season as successful no matter what the win/loss record reflects," Mells said.
Stanwood should not only be the team to beat in the Wesco North, according to Mells, but the top team in the entire conference.
The Wildcats start the season with a pair of 3:30 p.m. home non-league matches. First Arlington visits Tuesday, March 18, then Burlington-Edison comes by Thursday, March 20.