By Jake Schroer
Crow River News Sports
STMA Lady Knights Tennis was a very young team last year which started three middle school players.
The team played some very competitive tennis in spite of its youth, and it will look for more of the same in 2017.
“We have seven players coming back with some varsity experience,” head coach Ryan Antony said. Those seven are senior captains Alli Hinz and Ruthie Schutz, Abby Trenholm, Brooke Johnson, Emma Thole, Meadow LaDuke and Brook Beck.
Newcomers to the 2017 team include junior Bella Nardini, sophomores Colette Sinclair, Emily Watts and Gabby Olsen, and eighth-grader Olivia Flaten.
“It will be fun to watch this group improve and grow throughout the season,” Antony said.
Hinz and Schutz will lead the team, Antony said.
“They are top notch people and are great role models for our younger players.”
Each year has been a different situation for Antony. His first year, he had a team stacked with seniors. Last year, the team got a lot younger.
“Part of the fun of coaching is that each group is different as seniors graduate and new players make the team,” Antony said.
Antony predicts that the team could see some strides made this season with younger players improving as the year goes on. Princeton will be one of the teams standing in STMA’s way, Antony said.
“I think we will surprise some teams even though we are young, and look to finish toward the top.”
As for the future of tennis at STMA, Antony noted that many younger players showed up to recent graduates Jimmy Li and Jake Hinz’s tennis camp during the summer to hone their skills.
“I think we will see the benefits for years to come,” Antony said. He added that he is very excited to begin another season with a great group of students and their families.
The girls played at Coon Rapids in the Coon Rapids Invitational on Wednesday.