Eight seniors, including 1 state qualifier, will fuel HHS tennis

Eight seniors will power coach Lynn Wiebe?s tennis team this fall. Pictured are: back (from left) Amanda Faber, Greta Wiebe, Courtney Fast, Anna Woelk, Julia Loewen; front row, Amber Loewen, Lauren Just, Maria Loewen.Don Ratzlaff / Free Press Click image to enlarge

With eight seniors on her 15-player roster, Hills?boro High girls? tennis coach Lynn Wiebe faces both a blessing and a challenge this fall.

Having that many players with program experience will make for competitive practice sessions that ultimately will strengthen this year?s team.

But the challenge will be providing adequate court time for eight athletes in a sport that has only six openings in a varsity lineup.

Wiebe said the positives outweigh the potential negatives.

?It certainly creates a lot of inner-squad competition?good competition, in the sense that they push each other,? she said. ?So practices should be quite competitive.?

Wiebe said only three of her seniors have a varsity spot locked up so far.

Heading the list is Amanda Faber, who is a three-time state qualifier in doubles, including a fifth-place finish last fall with then-senior Lora Andrews.

This year Faber will be predominantly a singles player, which carries advantages and disadvantages for achieving success on the court, particularly in the post-season.

?She knew singles was going to be her calling this year,? Wiebe said. ?She also knows that singles competition at the state level is far superior to doubles. It?s just incredible, really.?

The other two seniors likely to be mainstays in Wiebe?s varsity lineup are Lauren Just, who played mostly singles last year, and Greta Wiebe, who played mostly doubles.

?Lauren and Greta are going to be in a lot of different doubles combinations, and likely in different roles than they were last year,? Wiebe said.

The other five seniors competing for varsity time are Amber Loewen, Julia Loewen, Maria Loewen, Anna Woelk and Courtney Fast. Fast competed in tennis as a freshman, but ran cross country the past two years.

Unlike some high school sports, seniors are allowed to play at the junior-varsity level.

?We?re pretty loose, in terms of how the coaches see it,? Wiebe said. ?We just want to give kids the opportunity to play.?

But in tennis, seniors still can be at a disadvantage when it comes to junior varsity.

?We certainly want to give the younger kids the priority when it comes to JV tennis,? Wiebe said. ?If it?s a decision whether I should play a senior or freshman, I should play the freshman just because that?s who the (JV) program is designed for.?

The rest of Wiebe?s roster includes two juniors and five freshmen.

Even with the sizeable number of seniors, Wiebe said the younger members of her squad have been motivated to work hard in practice, too.

?They recognize their ability isn?t there this year, but they also recognize that next year they are the show,? Wiebe said. ?After I mentioned that to them, I think they?ve taken that to heart and are stepping it up.?

The Trojan varsity opened its 2007 schedule Tuesday with the Hillsboro Invitational at the Sports Complex.

On Thursday, Aug. 30, the varsity will compete at the Sterling Invitational.

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