Sumner High School hosted a head-to-head girls tennis match April 19 with Bonney Lake, beating the visiting Panthers 4-1.
As the teams stand, the Spartans are tied for the best record in the SPSL 3A with an 8-1 mark. Sumner’s only loss so far was to Auburn Mountainview on April 6.
The Panthers hold a 2-8 record, but the team has room to improve down the stretch.
Last year, the Sumner girls tennis team ended their season in the middle of the SPSL 3A pack, so coach Kathleen McGuire said she is excited to see the team doing so well this year.
The Spartans have a lot of team experience, with all but one varsity player being a senior this year.
“We are grateful for their leadership and consistency,” McGuire wrote in an email. “They have made our program what it is.”
With so much strength coming from the seniors, one could assume the freshmen on the team would be easily overlooked, but McGuire said the team’s top two players happen to also be the team’s newest players.
Freshman Jade Lancaster was unable to play in the Sumner/Bonney Lake match-up due to a back injury, but even though her career has just started, Lancaster is a nationally ranked tennis player with a 26-19 overall record and already has a recruiting page.
The Spartans’ other star freshman is Tayva Jacobson, who normally takes No. 2 singles but has moved to No. 1 while Lancaster heals.
“Tayva steps it up daily and pulls out tough wins by playing consistently and playing smart,” McGuire wrote, noting that Jacobson’s brother Zaylan is No. 1 singles on the Sumner boys tennis team and her father was a college tennis player at the University of Washington.
Bonney Lake coach Damon DeLapp said after the Spartan/Panther match that the team is showing a lot of improvement.
Last year, the team graduated four seniors and brought on many young players.
“We have won 2 matches, which is already more than last year, and looking for our efforts in practice to start paying off more during the rest of the season,” he wrote in an email.
The Panthers’ star player this year is senior Kristen Cunningham, DeLapp said.
For the last three years on the team, Cunningham has played doubles, but made the transition to singles this year.
“She is learning very quickly and is showing huge improvements every match,” DeLapp wrote. “Kristen’s work ethic and determination is a model for the rest of the team follow.”
Cunningham will be attending the University of Puget Sound after she graduates from Bonney Lake High School, where her coach hopes she will continue to play.
Standing with Cunningham on the team is Natalie Gleason, Shaw Warren, Olivia Grob, Kadie Demich, Hanna Littlefield, Mindy Joyce and Nikki Demmel.