Tracy High’s girls will have a combination of strong returning players and a few new players this year.
The Bulldogs have been San Joaquin Athletic Association champions three years in a row, sharing the league title last year with Lodi when both teams went 9-1 in league play. Lodi had been the dominant team in the SJAA for many years before Tracy charged forward to win it all in 2009.
“We hope to hang onto it, but Lodi and Lincoln will be very strong,” said Tracy coach Paul Demsher. “They have some new players, and both of them have, like us, a lot of returning players, so it should be another tough battle.”
Tracy brings back a trio of seniors with experience on all three championship teams: Chiara Adamo, Aubrey Boehm and Cassidy Dolstra.
Adamo and Boehm are the top two on Tracy’s strength ladder, with sophomore Camille McDaniel as the No. 3 player. Returning players also include juniors Maisy Green, Keara O’Brien, Lindsey Ewen and Katrina Broughton.
Tracy made the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I team playoffs and was eliminated in a close match, 5-4, against Turlock in 2011. Adamo also played in the SJS Division I individual tournament after she finished as runner-up in the SJAA league championships.
West High’s tennis team starts its year with nearly all seniors on the varsity team. That indicates that the Wolf Pack could have a good year, but coach Ben Tsukiji said reaching the top of the Tri-City Athletic League will take more than experience this year.
“We have some experience, but that means we have to expect more from ourselves,” Tsukiji said. “That has to lead to more flexibility and more versatility. We have players who have to assume singles roles now, and we have to form new doubles combinations to replace the players who graduated. There are still a lot of challenges ahead of us.”
West went 9-5 overall last year, including a 6-4, third-place finish in the TCAL, behind St. Mary’s and Tokay. That gained West a trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I team playoffs, where the Wolf Pack won a match, 5-4, over Lincoln of Stockton, but then lost 9-0 to Davis Senior High.
Returning players include senior Emma Bell, in her third year as the Wolf Pack’s No. 1 player. She was the TCAL’s runner-up in the individual tournament and went to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I individual tournament.
Other top seniors returning this year are Regina Pacheco, Jessica Diaz, Chloe Pounds, Ashley Phillips and Maliyah Shavers.
The Jaguars go through a typical transition this year: A large group of seniors that formed the foundation of the new team has graduated, but another group of incoming seniors is ready to take the lead.
The Jaguars have yet to make the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs, but coach Danette McDaniel figures the players on the 2012 team are ready to take a step forward.
“We were, like, one match away from playoffs. We tied with Oakdale, but we needed to beat them to go,” McDaniel said of the 2011 team, which went 9-5 in the Valley Oak League and finished in fourth place behind Weston Ranch, Manteca and Oakdale.
The core of this year’s group includes five seniors.
Kimball’s No. 1 player, Andrea Candalla, and No. 2, Krishna Sankara, have been with the team all four years, as has singles player Perliza Delgado.
Sophomores Kylie Moxley and Viele Salgarino will also play singles. Other returning seniors are Jessica Agcanas and Tara Adeniron.
McDaniel said most of players have grown along with the Jaguars’ tennis program, and her goal is to see the younger players progress.
“These girls, there are quite a few of them who have never played before, and already they are progressing at a rapid rate, which they need to do,” she said. “I’m excited that all of the girls have some really good potential. I’ve had girls who couldn’t even serve who can now serve consistently. They’ve been working really hard.”