Nine returning letter winners lead NY Mills tennis
The Prairie Conference returns with girls tennis this season, adding new teams West Central and Belgrade-Brooton-Elrosa (BBE) to long time members New York Mills, Osakis, and Parkers Prairie.
There was no official conference tournament last year as the conference dwindled to four teams. The newcomers will bring back that competition. St. John's Prep will not field a varsity squad this season.
New York Mills Head Coach Gary Bach, in his 10th year, has a seasoned squad to take the court.
The Lady Eagles come off a 6-8 overall record last year, 5-2 in dual matches. The Eagles look to contend each meet.
"Osakis is always strong, but newcomer West Central may also compete for the top spot in the conference," Bach said.
In Section 8A play, Bach expects the northern teams to be strong again with defending section champions Roseau as the early favorite.
"East Grand, Crookston, and Thief River Falls will also compete. NY Mills, Wadena-Deer Creek, and Perham are always competitive with each other and will battle for the highest seed possible come tournament time."
Last year's squad entered section playoffs as the six seed and lost in the quarterfinals, 7-0, to third-seeded East Grand Forks.
Three juniors, Jenna Esala, Krista Guldseth and Kristin Kane will be counted upon to lead the Lady Eagles, along with seniors Lauren Bach, Missy Hendrickx and Jen Maki.
Bach was an academic athlete award winner last year and Hendrickx won the team's hustle award. All three seniors were awarded Spotlight on Scholarship Certificates from the Minnesota State High School League along with Esala, Emily Blomberg and Krista Guldseth.
Esala was also an academic athlete and was last year's most improved player.
Freshman Abby Salo was the rookie of the year from last season's squad and is joined by Victoria Selander from the ninth grade.
Blomberg and Leslie Geleneau round out the squad as sophomore representatives.
"We go into the season with nine returning letter winners with the goal of competing well and having fun as a team each time we step out onto the court," Bach said.
Girls Tennis Schedule
23 @ Osakis
25 @ Staples-Motley
27 @ West Central Area
2 @ Roseau Triangular
9 @ Belgrade-Brooten-El.
10 @ Perham
11 @ Moose Invite
14 Parkers Prairie
16 @ Park Rapids
25 @ Conference Tourney
28 @ Pequot Lakes
30 @ Crosby-Ironton
4 @ Parkers Prairie
5 Detroit Lakes