Preseason capsules of area prep girls' tennis teams

Photo - Cheyenne Mountain's Casey Ahrendsen takes a shot during the No. 1 Doubles championship match for the 4A girls tennis state finals at the Pueblo City Park Tennis Complex on Saturday, May 14, 2016. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette.
Cheyenne Mountain's Casey Ahrendsen takes a shot during the No. 1 Doubles championship match for the 4A girls tennis state finals at the Pueblo City Park Tennis Complex on Saturday, May 14, 2016. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette.


Fountain-Fort Carson

Coach: Mary Heisel (third season)

Key players: Madison Sabala, jr.

Outlook: Other than Sabala, a three-year varsity player, the Trojans field a mostly new and inexperienced team. Heisel hopes to develop the newcomers and strengthen the returners who played on junior varsity in 2016.


Coach: Christie Arias (first season)

Key players: None listed.

Outlook: Arias replaced Mikael Peterson has head coach and inherited a team that graduated only three seniors. Singles players Grace Meluso and Lucy Timmins, both seniors this season, and junior Abby Timmins combined to go 25-7 during regular-season play in 2016, and all three

No report: Doherty



Air Academy

Coach: Matt Kiser (first season)

Key players: Cori Campbell, so.; Ally Reeder, jr.

Outlook: Kiser, who has led the boys' program for four seasons, inherits perhaps the program's largest squad with some 50 girls attending tryouts this week. Campbell reached state at No. 2 singles last season and advanced to the quarterfinals, while Reeder qualified for state at No. 2 doubles but is expected to challenge for a singles spot in 2017.

Cheyenne Mountain

Coach: Dave Adams (11th season)

Key players: Morgan Hall, so.; Ally Arenson, sr.; Casey Ahrendsen, sr.; Claire Dibble, sr.

Outlook: The Indians won their eighth straight 4A title last spring and, with seven of 11 varsity letter-winners back in the fold, there's no reason they can't make it nine. The No. 1 doubles team of Arenson and Ahrendsen defended the state title, while Hall and Dibble both took third at state after falling to eventual state champs in the semis at Nos. 1 and 3 singles, respectively.


Coach: Tyler Philipsen (first season)

Key players: Savannah Leifer, jr.; Bethany Heiland, jr.; Carli Kassner, so.; Sydney Coen, sr.; Logan Baumberger, sr.

Outlook: Philipsen - who also coaches the boys' team - has an experienced and battle-tested team, which competed in 5A last year but dropped to 4A as part of the sport's reclassification with the addition of 3A. Coen and Baumberger qualified for state at No. 4 doubles in 2016, and the Cougars have youth and experience in all three singles positions with Leifer, Heiland and Kassner all returning.

Discovery Canyon

Coach: Brian Thirkell (seventh season)

Key players: Mattie Kuntzelman, so.; Hunter Jones, so.; Sydney Smith, jr.; Lizzie McCurdy, sr.

Outlook: The Thunder broke through last year at the 4A state tournament, finishing a program-best third in the team standings, led by Kuntzelman, the state champion at No. 2 singles. Overall, Discovery Canyon returns six letter-winners, including Jones, a state finalist as part of the No. 2 doubles team, and Smith and McCurdy, the No. 1 doubles team that advanced to the state semifinals.


Coach: Jason Warkentine (first season)

Key players: Katelyn Jensen, sr.; Cassity Bastian, sr.; Jessica Sandwick, sr.

Outlook: Jensen, the program's only four-year varsity player, leads a squad that did not win a dual match last season but, according to first-year coach Warkentine, vows to "start a new chapter" in Falcon girls' tennis.


Coach: Paul Kardel (17th season)

Key players: Emma Gaydos, sr.; Stephanie Nolt, sr.; Victoria Vann, jr.; Averi Strickenberger, jr.; Sarah Fleischmann, jr.; Emily Driessen, sr.

Outlook: Singles play figures to be a strength for the Rangers. Gaydos, who won her first-round match at last year's 4A state tournament, leads returners in all three spots. Vann won eight matches at No. 3 singles a season ago.

Mesa Ridge

Coach: Lisa Felice (seventh season)

Key players: Jessica Scott, sr.; Patricia Liwanagon, jr.; Arianna Napier, sr.; Kelsey Young, sr.

Outlook: Felice is hopeful that Scott, who won seven matches at No. 3 singles last season, can make the transition to No. 1 singles, with contributions from Liwanagon, a varsity alternate a year ago. Napier and Young placed fourth at the Region 6 tournament last season and could be on the cusp of a state qualification later this spring.


Coach: Danielle Jackson (first season)

Key players: None listed.

Outlook: Jackson inherits a young team with one returning letter-winner and seems excited to teach the game and watch her students grow this season.

Palmer Ridge

Coach: Dawn Kruger (second season)

Key players: Ciara Bobak, jr.; Kyra Rothwell, jr.; Emma Kerr, jr.; Paige Riggle, jr.; Cailin Foster, sr.; Madi Luce, sr.

Outlook: The Bears have eight of the 11 varsity players returning from the 2016 squad that had state qualifiers in five spots. Rothwell made plenty of noise in her 4A state debut, advancing to the semifinals at No. 3 singles and placing fourth.

Pine Creek

Coach: Dave Lehman (12th season)

Key players: Amy Wang, sr.; Tori Hillebrandt, sr.; Tenley Norton, sr.

Outlook: The Eagles, who won five of six 5A Colorado Springs Metro League matches and sent six players to state, move into 4A behind leaders Wang and Norton, state qualifiers at No. 3 doubles, along with Hillebrandt. With six varsity players graduated, Lehman said all players will be in new positions.


Coach: Molly Gill (first season)

Key players: Jamie Smith, sr.; Lizzy Walsh, sr.; Grace Qiu, jr.

Outlook: The Rams, now playing in 4A, lost five players to graduation but do return three singles players with varsity experience in Smith, Walsh and Qiu.

Sand Creek

Coach: Joey Hinson (first season)

Key players: Kaitlyn Fark, jr.; Anna Ellen Graham, jr.; Anna Hong, sr.; Autumn Winford, so.; Isabella Aragon, so.

Outlook: The Scorpions return eight varsity letter-winners. Hinson is hopeful of significant improvement. The team will be led by tri-captains Fark, Graham and Winford.


Coach: Joe Griebel (10th season)

Key players: Sydney Villers, sr.; Brittany Armijo, sr.; Aubre Joyce, sr.; Alicia Rendon, jr.; Victoria Bowen, jr.

Outlook: The Gladiators won eight of 11 dual matches last season but lost two of their top three singles players, the No. 1 doubles team and part of two others to graduation. Villers won five regular-season matches at No. 3 singles in 2016 and figures to move into one of the top two singles slots.

No report: Canon City, Liberty 



Colorado Springs School

Coach: Colleen Campbell (first season)

Key players: Claire Schultz, sr.

Outlook: The Kodiaks are one of seven region teams to move into the newly created 3A division, and are particularly deep at doubles, with all eight varsity letter-winners back for the 2017 season.

The Vanguard School

Coach: Kim Davis (fourth season)

Key players: Delaney Wilklow, sr.; Krista Davis, sr.; Nicole Alderman, jr.; Idalia Jackson, jr.

Outlook: The Coursers won nine of 11 matches last season and return nine letter-winners from that squad. Wilklow went 9-1 at No. 2 singles during the regular season and seems poised to take over the No. 1 spot, while Krista Davis won seven of 10 matches at No. 3 singles. Also, the No. 1 doubles team of Alderman and Jackson went 6-3.

No report: CSCS, Fountain Valley, Harrison, Sierra, St. Mary's.