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Heavy hitters return to the singles courts

GIRLS TENNIS PREVIEW - Central Catholic and Saint Mary's remain teams to beat
by: file photo Centennial sophomore Ify Aniefuna looks to make a return to the district singles title match this spring.

Girls tennis once again appears to be the realm of the private schools with Central Catholic coming off an 8-0 dual run and Saint Mary's returning the district singles champion in Katy Kraul. But fresh off its runner-up finish a year ago, Gresham coach Alan Simpson is confident his team can figure somewhere into the mix.

'If things break right we might be able to challenge them, but I'm sure we'll have some good matches at the high end of the ladder,' he said.

The Gophers bring in a pair of talented freshman singles players, headlined by Jessica Emoto who could challenge at district in her rookie season.

The tennis schedule was tweaked for this season with Sandy and Hood River moving to the 5A level and leaving the Mount Hood Conference with enough open dates to play a double round-robin - playing each league foe twice. With that change, the dual-meet part of the season will go further in determining the league champion.

'Now the regular season carries more weight, and I like that better,' Barlow coach Dave Hunt said. 'It seems more fair to reward a month and a half of hard work over a two-day tournament that favors the big hitters in the league.'

Previews of the five East County schools appear in the March 16 edition of The Outlook.