Mica Marriott
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Gardner Edgerton High School’s tennis team won’t underestimate its rivals this season, but Coach Wayne Long has plenty of standout players to help lead the team to victory.
Long said he considers the EKL will be a big challenge for the GEHS girls tennis team this year, though he said, “We will not overlook the other schools like Mill Valley and Bonner Springs that we will be competing against in our Regional.”
All six of the Varsity girl tennis players received individual private lessons this past summer, and Long said he believes this will really pay off in their eight-week tennis season.
“I look forward to working with the best group of girls I have ever had on a Varsity team this season. The girls have worked hard during the off season and have good attitudes and are fun to work with,” Long said.
A standout player to watch this season will be Samantha Aleman, a sophomore who will playing in the varsity number one singles spot. She is returning this season after winning thirty-three matches in the 2009 season and placing sixth in 5A State Championship.
“Aleman has worked hard to improve her game and is shooting for a goal of making it into the top 4 finish at State this season,” Long said.
Some other competitive players to keep an eye on this season are four juniors Logan Meyer, Calley Brey, Madison Edstrom, and Amanda Wilson.
“All have improved and should have solid seasons this year,” Long said.
Several JV players from last year will be filling varsity spots this season.
“Amanda Wilson, Madison Edstrom, and Senior Stacy Kessler are all new Varsity players that should improve greatly throughout the season, and I am counting on our doubles to improve rapidly throughout this season,” Long explained.
Long said several factors differentiate tennis from other sports.
“Tennis is the ultimate individual test of stamina, skill and mental concentration,” he said. ”If you, the player are weak in even one of these three areas your opponent will take advantage of it.  It is great to watch tennis players mature and improve in these areas because ultimately it helps them be successful in life.”