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Tennis opens season undefeated

Girls’ tennis begins their season riding the wave of four consecutive undefeated years in the West Sierra League. After finishing last season and competing at the Sierra Division Valley Championship, a competitive season is anticipated. Seniors Julie Fujihara and Jaryn Warren lead the group of 16 hard-working, sweat-dripping, racquet-slamming girls.

Another strong player is Michelle Smith, ?04, who everyone remembers from her intense matches against Fowler’s now graduated Sara Sherriffs. Smith has held the team’s number one singles spot for her entire high school career. Without Sherriffs on the court, Smith may be able to win the number one singles spot in the entire West Sierra League.

Smith has been playing for five years and although she does not plan to play in college, she will continue to play as a hobby. She was first motivated to play tennis when she and a friend casually hit tennis balls against the garage door.

“We weren’t playing seriously,” Smith said, “but she was still better than me. All I wanted to do was beat her. After that I just liked it so much I kept playing and I got on the team.”

Today, Smith is focused on staying undefeated during league and making it back to the Valley Championships.

“The main goal I and the rest of the team have is to beat Templeton,” said Smith.

After a tough loss against Templeton in the championship match last year, there is no doubt the girls want revenge.

A young star that seems to be following in Smith’s steps is Hillary Kell, ?05. While just a sophomore, Kell is already at the top of the ladder at the number two singles spot.

“I started playing in seventh grade,” Kell said. “Coach (George) Freeman recruited me–he wouldn’t get off my back. After that, I simply fell in love with it. I owe it all to him.”

Coach Freeman shares the same goal as the team and plans to train the girls to reach their full potential.

“Each girl will perform at her maximum ability during each practice and match,” coach Freeman said.

Girls’ tennis has already beaten Kingsburg, McFarland and Yosemite High Schools all
9-0. Home matches are scheduled for Sept. 10 against Caruthers and Sept. 12 against Fowler.

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