Sports

New faces characterize Arlington tennis

Seniors Morgan Galusha, left, and Bridget Burkholder return to captain this years Arlington tennis squad. After finishing third at districts last season, coach Sean Cunningham hopes they can make a run at state this season. -
Seniors Morgan Galusha, left, and Bridget Burkholder return to captain this years Arlington tennis squad. After finishing third at districts last season, coach Sean Cunningham hopes they can make a run at state this season.
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With seven girls gone from last years squad, opponents of Arlington tennis will see a different team across the net from them.
While head coach Sean Cunningham is already forecasting a strong season for his number-one singles and number-one doubles players, its harder to say what the future holds for Arlington tennis.
Arlingtons top singles player Ivana Krommelova has a great deal of tennis experience, but shes a new face with the program. As a foreign exchange student, the senior brings 12 years of experience playing tennis in her homeland of Slovakia.
And after three years of playing together, seniors and doubles teammates Morgan Galusha and Bridget Burkholder return from a junior season in which they placed third in a district tournament that sends the top two finishers to state. As two of the teams most veteran members, Galusha and Burkholder serve as captains of this Eagles squad.
Sophomores Chelsea Boulton and Bailey Abdo are likely to play varsity singles this year, while another doubles team brings momentum from last season to this years team. Juniors Lauren Kelly and Kelly Hamilton strung together a series of wins in the second half of last season and Cunningham expects theyll vie for either second or third doubles.
Kelly and Hamiltons surge last season is a typical experience in high school tennis, according to their coach.
I always look at the first half of the season as a way to measure ourselves. In the second half its really an opportunity to see it come together, Cunningham said.
Part of that comes from the fact that, until recently, tennis is a sport usually picked up in high school. With the emergence of club tennis teams and summer camps, the sport is just beginning to catch on in popularity to rival the likes of soccer, football or basketball.
Cunningham attributed such programs in the Stanwood area for that programs success.
I think that has a lot to do with these girls that are playing out of season and the accessibility they have to these programs in Stanwood, he said. They, along with Snohomish, are the teams to beat every year in our league.
While Arlington-area players are beginning to frequent these camps and programs, Cunningham is keeping modest expectations for his team.
My aim is to finish around .500, he said. If we can accomplish that, we can make leaps from where weve been in the past.

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