Fremont High School girls tennis coach Jeremy Larsen hopes the Tigers can end the season on a high note.
The Tigers will compete Thursday and Friday in the state tennis tournament at the Koch Tennis Center in Omaha.
“We have had a really good season up to this point,” Larsen said. “We have a really good tournament team this year, having finished in the top half of the team standings at most of our invites.”
The Tigers may be peaking at the right time.
“I believe we are playing our best tennis, which is what you want heading into state,” Larsen said. “The girls have put in a great amount of work this season and are excited to go out and show what they can do against great competition.”
Anna Baskova might have the toughest draw for the Tigers. The sophomore will face second-seeded Julia King of Omaha Marian in the opening round at No. 1 singles. King finished third at No. 1 last year with her only blemish in the tournament coming in the semifinals against eventual champion Samantha Mannix of Elkhorn South.
Mannix now competes for the University of Iowa while Bianca Rademacher of Lincoln East is this year’s top seed. The junior lost to Mannix 6-0, 6-0 in the 2018 championship match.
Tawnie Escamilla of the Tigers will face third-seeded Anna Burt of Lincoln Pius in a No. 2 singles opener. The winner will face either Mya Erixon of Omaha Westside or Bu Meh of Omaha Northwest in the second round.
At No. 1 doubles, senior Elise Patchen and sophomore Hannah Wilson of FHS will face eighth-seeded Taylin Copp and Kendra Sears of Kearney. The winners will face either the ninth-seeded team of Avery Smith and Baylor Pope of Lincoln High or Omaha North’s Morgan Messel and Sydney Hamilton.
Lexie Glosser and Miah Vakiner of the Tigers are seeded ninth at No. 2 doubles. They open with the team of Emily Hodges and Lucia Stavneak of Omaha Central. A win advances Glosser and Vakiner against either eighth-seeded Jessica Leung and Summer Nelson of Millard West or the Columbus duo of Brooke Benck and Addison Duranski.
“I feel good about our first-round draws,” Larsen said. “Although we have tough draws, three of our four divisions have beaten opponents or teams that are seeded. If we come out and play smart tennis, anything can happen.”
Patchen and Wilson just faced Copp and Sears in the Heartland Athletic Conference Meet on May 9 in Fremont.
“Elise and Hannah get a rematch with a Kearney team they were up 5-1 at conference last week,” Larsen said, referring to an 8-5 comeback win by the Bearcats. “If we can start fast in our matches, we will be in a good position.”
Glosser and Vakiner finished seventh in the HAC meet.
“I think our No. 2 doubles team has the most momentum going into state,” Larsen said. “They have been playing well lately and took Lincoln Southeast to a third set at conference. If they play their game, they will have a chance to make a deep run.”
Glosser and Vakiner lost in the second round of the HAC tournament to Southeast’s Averie Dodds and Ally Keitges 6-4, 3-6 1-0 (1), who are the No. 2 seeds.
Dodds and Keitges are seeded second at state.
In addition to Rademacher, the other top seeds for the tournament include Brooke Sailer of Lincoln East at No. 2 singles, Katie Whitehead and Caroline Miller of Southeast at No. 1 doubles and the No. 2 doubles team of Elly Johnson and Kristina Le of Lincoln East at No. 2 doubles.