IRON RIVER – West Iron County’s rebuilding girls tennis program begins the season this week.
Coach Denise Spelgatti’s Wykons host Ishpeming on Wednesday and Kingsford on Thursday, and travel Friday to Negaunee for matches with the Miners and Munising.
West Iron meets Ironwood, Marquette, Escanaba and Iron Mountain next week.
“This is a very busy start to the season with many matches and very little practice time,” Spelgatti said.
West Iron graduated No. 1 singles Kylee Erickson, who was named 2012 U.P. Division 2 Player of the Year. Second singles Maddy Waara is out for the season with a knee injury, recovering from a torn ACL.
West Iron No. 1 doubles Mallory Tomasoski-Olivia Han also graduated.
“Our line-up has some big holes to fill,” Spelgatti said. “Kylee will be a hard person to replace. They will be missed.”
Spelgatti and assistant coaches John Spelgatti and Joe Serbentas are working with 19 players.
“We are in a completely different situation than we are used to,” said Spelgatti, noting the roster size. “We haven’t had numbers like this in a very long time. The girls are working hard in practice and challenge matches have been very competitive.”
Ten letterwinners are on the roster – seniors Haley Anderson, Brittanie Barry, Alexis Kinner and Megan Miatech; juniors Tori Harris-Hoogenboom, Sydnie Mazurek, Kiki Piwarski, Kristin Smith and Maddy Waara, and sophomore Jessie Prudhomme.
“Our line-up could change in the beginning of the year because the younger girls are just now getting accustomed to playing,” Spelgatti said. “I am very happy with the work ethic and attitudes of the girls. We need some match play to show us where we need to be to be competitive.”
West Iron shared fourth with Ironwood in the 2012 U.P. tournament. Westwood claimed the title, followed by Iron Mountain and Munising.
“As I look at other teams I see teams that are all competitive and able to be strong opponents,” Spelgatti said. “Hopefully we can compete along with them.”
Roster follows (returning letterwinner):
SENIORS – *Haley Anderson, *Brittanie Barry, *Alexis Kinner, *Megan Miatech, Hannah Swanson.
JUNIORS – Alexis Golfis, *Tori Harris-Hoogenboom, *Sydnie Mazurek, Keeley Nolingberg, *Kiki Piwarski, *Kristin Smith, *Maddy Waara (manager).
SOPHOMORES – *Jessie Prudhomme, Megan Quayle.
FRESHMEN – Emmy Kinner, Madi McNamara, Sydney Schram, Allie Schive, Molly Sheehan, Michelle Wiegand.