The Sumner High School boys tennis team was undefeated last year in the South Puget Sound League 2A and will be bringing its skills to the 3A this year.
“The 3A league is traditionally very tough but with no recent track record in this brand new league, it will be tough to accurately predict,” coach Spenser Phelan said.
Seniors Zak Landers, Julian Fernandez, Sam Jacobsen, Jake Conklin, junior Elijah Evers and sophomore Zaylan Jacobsen are returning varsity players.
“Zaylan won fourth place at the 2A state tournament last season, and Zak Landers was also a state participant, so expectations are high,” Phelan said.
The Spartans are 2-0 after beating Auburn Mountainview and Peninsula. They faced Auburn Riverside Tuesday after the press deadline.
The Panthers sent Laree Graham to the to the state meet last year and both the boys and girls team qualified for districts in 2013.
The 2014 season should be another strong year for the Panther distant runners.
Andy Foster is entering a decade as coach and he expects the Panthers to be right at the top again this season.
“We only graduated two seniors from the boys side and one girl,” Foster wrote in an email. “Our league is going to be very tough. I think it will be one of the tougher leagues and if we can survive, we will have a good shot of taking our team(s) to state.”
There are 40 runners returning and 11 seniors, with only 10 graduating from the program.
Some early highlight runners include, Melissa Arima, Graham Ryan Engledow, Brock Frame, Bennett Hillier, Mykel Fisher, Allen Fletcher, Gavin McElroy and Eric Volleger.
Last season the Sumner cross country boys and girls teams ran in the 2A state meet and the team expects similar results in the SPSL 3A.
“Moving up from 2A to 3A will be tough, but we are up to the challenge,” coach Karen Weber said.
On the boys team, returning students include seniors Jordan Landes, Dillon Smith, junior Nate Weber and sophomore Nicolas Bourgeois.
On the girls team, junior Bailey Tomsen and sophomore Abby Marcotte will be returning to the team. Freshman Emma Sjolund and junior Petria Russell are new to the team.
Both the Panthers and Spartans boys team will compete Saturday in the Ft. Steilacoom Invitational.
The Spartans host Auburn Riverside at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24 and the Panthers travel to Lakes.