FAIRMONT - A year after the Fairmont girls tennis team placed second in the Section 3A Team Meet, reached its first sectional final since 1994 and finished with its best record in 17 years, the Cardinals are hoping to continue that success.
With the help of new head coach Kathy Krenzel and a seniorless roster, the Cardinals will look to match last season's 12-6 record.
Krenzel comes to Fairmont as a retired mathematics teacher of 37 years from Swea City.
ACES RETURN — Members of the Fairmont Cardinal girls tennis team opening the season today by traveling to Wells to face United South Central include, front row (l-r): Madisyn Plumhoff, Emily O’Connor, Anagha Komaragiri, Leah Fortune, Chloe Diekmann, Chloe Graif, Morgan Cihoski and Holly Petrowiak. Middle: Aubrey Green, Marina Rufli, Jill Paris, Lauren Carlson, Shantel Quist, Ellie Tonder, Jojo Kelley, Hayley Ferguson and Marina Speckman. Back: Assistant coach Cindy Martens, Allison Moeller, Briana Gratz, Missy Viesselman, Andrea Carstensen, Sophie Shelgren, Micaela Gochanour, Abby Fitzgerald, Kaitlyn Cihoski and head coach Kathy Krenzel. Photo by Leanna Becker
She's coached volleyball, basketball and track & field throughout her career, but not tennis - until now.
"I've always been a tennis player, I've played all my life. And I've coached in other sports, but not tennis," said Krenzel.
For Krenzel, who was chosen to run the program just three weeks ago, the official season begins today when Fairmont travels to Wells to face United South Central in its season-opener.
"I talked with (former Cardinal head coach) Jeff (Nauman) before practices started and he gave me some ideas of what to expect and some drills to run," said Krenzel.
Krenzel's lineup will consist of juniors in the top singles spots to open the season.
Aubrey Green, Allison Moeller, Missy Viesselman and Jill Paris will play singles, while another junior - Briana Gratz - will partner up with sophomore Sophie Shelgren in the top doubles spot.
Andrea Carstensen and Micaela Gochanour will take the No. 2 doubles spot, while Abby Fitzgerald and Shatel Quist will form the No. 3 doubles team.
"We've got six juniors, so we are a pretty young team. The girls are working hard everyday though and they have a fantastic attitude and work ethic," said Krenzel. "The older girls have been doing a great job of helping and guiding the newer and younger girls."
The younger players have gotten some tennis experience throughout the summer, working with Fairmont head boys tennis coach Eric Johnson in an offseason program.
"The summer program is great because it gets the younger players some experience before the school season starts. That is really helpful," said Krenzel.
The drills and techniques the younger players learn early on, are the same ones that Krenzel has the team working on in early practice.
"We have been working on serving and consistency with it. Serving is such a large part of the game. If you are having a bad service game, it can throw everything else off as well. So we really want to work on getting that consistent," said Krenzel.
Fairmont will host its first home meet - one of only four this season - against River Valley at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 4.
"It's kind of nice we have all these away matches first. It gives me a chance to get in the swing of things," said Krenzel. "I am so far very glad I made the decision to do this. It should be a very interesting season."