The Panthers tennis team looks to be packing some serious veteran power, with more than half of the team returning to the courts.
Returnees include seniors Natalie Gleason, Kadie Demich, Nikki Demmel and Shay Warren, juniors Olivia Grob, Hannah Anderson-Cabrera, Madison Crinkclaw and Jeeun Lee and sophomores Eliza Christensen and Jonelle Owens-Larson.
“No. 1 Single Demich had a solid year last year and has continued to improve,” Coach Damon DeLapp said in an interview. “She will have a good season and post-season hopeful.”
DeLapp also called out No. 1 doubles team Grob and Gleason, who “are a solid team and will be competing for a top spot” in the team’s new Pierce County League 3A.
The Panthers have been unable to make the playoffs for the last two years, but coach Luke Helling-Christy is looking to end that drought this year.
Returning to the field are seniors Logan Free, Jose Gomez and Tate Hamlett, juniors Preston Curtice, Hayden Davis, Joel Horstman, Alex Stevenson, Evan Tracy and Zander Varnum.
New to the team are seniors Austin Free, Juan Munoz, Ryker Penner and Pierce Threlfall, junior Alexander Gaarder and sophomore Antonio Guerro.
Helling-Christy called out Hamlett as the one of the team’s strongest players.
Hamlett has committed to play for Saint Martin’s this fall.
BOYS AND GIRLS TRACK
The Panther boys are back and eager to run, jump and throw after going undefeated in their league and placing second in 3A state last year.
“The boys team is coming off a fantastic year last year,” said coach Andy Foster. “We have a good core of athletes returning this year and we are hoping to have another great year.”
Foster called out three returning seniors who placed in state last year – Cody Miller, Caleb Davis and William Glick.
Miller grabbed 3rd at the state 110 meter hurdles event, while Davis was 2nd in the shot put and 7th in discus.
Glick was 5th in the 800 meter event.
Foster also said to watch for senior returnees Trent Hiner at sprinting events, Isaiah Brooks on the hurdles, Mykel Fisher in distance events, Nic Tan on the pole vault and junior Donovan Henderson at the high jump.
The Panther girls are also rearing to go, and are setting their sights on finishing better than 14th at state, which was their placing last year.
Half of the team are new athletes, with 22 returning.
Coach Judy Revell called out returning athletes Dreakeanna Adair, Isobella Davidson, Summerlyn Kober and Katie Fryberger for making it to districts last year.
Adair, now a junior, was the state’s 3A discus champion last year.