With two state qualifiers on the girls team and a swarm of veteran players on the boys team, the CCHS tennis program serves up the season March 17 at home against Crescent Valley.
>With several possible state qualifies, the CCHS tennis program opens March 17 against Crescent Valley
A slight change in the Intermountain Conference will occur this season. This will be the first year when league records will be recorded. In the past, the district meet was the only event that determined a league champion. For the 2001 season, league records will come into play as well.
On the boys side, a majority of the players return from last year, including the doubles team of senior Trampus Peterson and junior Evan Hendrix; senior doubles and singles player Ryan Dutli; senior singles and doubles player Matt Easlon; junior singles player Devin Lee; and senior doubles player Frazier Edmonds.
Also returning this year are sophomores Jeff Hancock, Sam Thomas and Colin Zook.
With the amount of depth of the boys team, head tennis coach Dave Mascall feels his team could go far, including qualifying at least one doubles team and one singles team for state.
"You know, they're talking about maybe third place in the league this year," Mascall said. "We have some kids who have been playing all year long and some returning people who placed well last year at district."
On the girls side, returning state competitors senior Amy Piepenbrink and sophomore Megan Rodgers return for Crook County. Rodgers made state as a singles player, while Piepenbrink qualified last year as a doubles player with then senior Tabi Hankins.
"On the girls side, we could be first or second in the district, although Bend looks pretty tough," Mascall explained. "But the girls are saying 'let's beat Bend, let's beat 'em.' "
Also returning for the girls team are junior doubles players Kristin and Rachel Wortman and Cassie Pruett and Jessica Rau. Junior Breann Sharp returns for the CCHS as a singles player, as does Michelle Hook, Ashley Osbourne and Juanita Weatherly.
Coach Mascall added that with the type of experience returning for the girls team, the squad could compete for a league championship.
"We have some depth this year," Mascall said. "They seriously have a shot at contending for a district title either at district or in terms of winning the league through the course of the season."
The main competition for the girls side looks to be Bend, as last year's district champion Kindi Thomas returns for the Lava Bears, while Thomas' freshman sister is on the team as well.
The Crook County girls team faces off against the Lava Bears March 22 in Bend, while the boys are in action against Bend in Prineville the same day.