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Led by sisters, Woodmen raising racket as team to beat


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For nearly four decades, the Center Grove High School girls tennis program has been a dominant force in Johnson County.

However, in the past two years, there’s been a changing of the guard.

Greenwood, under the direction of coach Steve Gantz, now in his 20th year, has had two consecutive appearances in the IHSAA State Finals.

At the top of the ladder are senior twins Jackie and Jade Kawamoto, who have been almost picture-perfect the past two varsity seasons.

With Jackie, the reigning individual singles state champion, and Jade, the Woodmen are again expected to make serious noise in this year’s tournament.

The Kawamoto twins have put together two of the greatest seasons ever in the district.

Also returning for her senior year is the Woodmen’s No. 3 singles player, Makenzie Estrem, who has repeatedly turned in the team’s winning third point.

“I’m excited about the upcoming season and seeing what it will hold for us,” Estrem said. “To achieve the kind of success we’ve had, we’re working hard and doing what we must do to prepare ourselves.”

With the strength in his team’s singles lineup, Gantz is methodically searching to fill open slots in his two doubles teams.

Lost to graduation were Taylor Hudnall and Brittany Toney along with Claire Gallman and her doubles partner Morgan Stunick.

Candidates for those positions with varsity experience include senior Madison Gaudian, junior Ali Youngman and sophomore Abby Chatham.

Greenwood begins its season at home against Warren Central on April 9.

Among other teams:

Center Grove

With only two starters returning, the Trojans have some heavy lifting ahead after finishing last season with an 8-9 record.

Senior Jillian Fledderman, who has held down the No. 3 singles position the past two years, is expected to move up the ladder with the graduation of Emily Jones and Grace Neathery.

Also returning is senior Kaitlyn Walsh, who played doubles last season.

Winners of 25 sectionals and 16 regionals, Center Grove will have a strong contingency of freshmen players, according to Trojans coach Debby Burton.

Others returning are seniors Priya Dave, Rachel Graves and Amy Smith in addition to junior Maria Neathery.

“We are looking forward to getting some young players experience and strong leadership from our returning players,” Burton said.

The Trojans kick off their season at North Central on April 15.

Edinburgh

Coach Rachel Matusik, in her third year, has the largest number of girls playing tennis in school history.

“The 17 girls have great attitudes and are dedicated student-athletes, so I’m excited to get the season started,” she said.

Seven are returners, including singles players Lillie Parmer and Miranda Burton, both sophomores, and junior Baleigh Downton.

Also back are senior Abbie Young and sophomores Albani Brown, Meghan Collett and Ashlyn Streeval.

One additional player added to the roster is freshman Vanessa Hoskins who last spring played middle school tennis at Brown County.

The Lancers host Knightstown to open the season April 8.

Franklin

Graduation took a heavy toll on the Grizzly Cubs starting lineup from a year ago.

Coach Rusty Hughes will have to replace Logan Jones and Lauren Edwards in addition to doubles players Kristen Conoley and Sarah Jepsen.

Conoley teamed with senior Hannah Hook last year and made a nice run in the in the state doubles tournament before falling to a team from Cathedral.

Hook, along with senior Mary Huffine, returns along with sectional alternates Katie Bemis, a junior, and sophomore Nina Biasi.

“We’re looking to improve in each match out and hopefully our underclassmen will step up to fill roles on our varsity,” Hughes said.

Also returning are juniors Kaitlyn Ogden, Anna Purk, Jadie Sheldrake and Ashlyn Smith.

The Grizzly Cubs will open the season at home against Perry Meridian on Monday.

Indian Creek

Longtime coach Ryan Posey is stepping aside and will be replaced by former Braves boys basketball coach Rex Wilson.

Indian Creek has four returning letter winners, including doubles players Bri Berger, a senior, and junior Katie Huter.

Singles player Ally Smith is also back in addition to senior Guenevere Clear and junior Baylee Wilson.

“We’ll be relying a lot on our returners and hope to see improvement throughout the year,” coach Wilson said.

Indian Creek hosts Martinsville on April 14 to open the season.

Whiteland

With the loss of only two graduating seniors, the Warriors are anticipating a successful season, according to coach Mike Gillespie.

“We have 28 players on the roster and we’re looking forward to the challenge ahead of us,” he said. “These girls are hard workers and they like to compete. I’m excited to see what we can do.”

Returning singles players include seniors Emily Zietlow and Laiken Gossett and sophomore Madison Scott.

Other players in the mix for starting positions include seniors Catherine Morgan, Navdeep Kaur, Danielle Muldoon and Jasmeet Kaur.

The Warriors open the season at Mid-State Conference rival Decatur Central on April 9.

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