After dominating the Olympic League for four years and District 1 1A play before that, the Coupeville High School tennis team faces a tougher challenge this fall.
The Wolves are entering the North Sound Conference, but South Whidbey is the only other league school with a boys tennis team.
Therefore, the two Whidbey schools will be competing in the Emerald City League, the most powerful 1A conference in the state and home of numerous state champions.
“It was nice winning two of four league titles in our old league, but that was then,” coach Ken Stange said. “We can either complain about it, or we can work at getting better. I choose the latter.”
This year Coupeville will play two singles matches and three doubles matches in each league contest, down from three singles and four doubles in the Olympic League.
The concentration of talent should help the Wolves, according to Stange, because it will require less past experience.
Although Coupeville lost its top players from 2017, a bevy of returning players will produce “stiff competition” within the team to fill the varsity spots, according to Stange.
Returning for Coupeville are lettermen Mason Grove, Jakobi Baumann, Jaschon Baumann, Zach Ginnings, Drake Borden, Tiger Johnson, Koby Schreiber, Thane Peterson and Harris Sinclair.
Key newcomers are juniors James Wood and Jacob Burke and freshman Andrew Aparicio.
“We have our work cut out for us, but we’re working hard to raise our collective game,” Stange said. “The new league raises expectations, but we haven’t seen the competition yet. It should be challenging and fun. I hope we can be competitive and be a solid part of our new league. I also hope we can get a couple of entries into the district tourney.”
The “real success” of the season, according to Stange, is if the Wolves can improve their results the second time through the schedule.
Coupeville goes to South Whidbey at 3:30 p.m. Wed., Sept. 5, for the season opener. The first home match is the following Friday at 3:30 p.m. with Eastside Prep.