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Boys tennis coach has high hopes for reigning champs

Coming off a 20-month layoff after capturing its third consecutive 3A state championship, the Boulder City High School boys tennis team might have a completely different roster entering this season, but its outlook remains the same.

Forced to shut down last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Eagles were unable to make it four consecutive years with a state title. Finally back on the court, head coach Rachelle Huxford said she would like to make up for lost time.

“We’ve definitely missed being out there,” Huxford said. “This year’s roster is going to look a little different than years past. We don’t necessarily have the experience that we’ve had in years past, but we’ve been fortunate enough to have a great turnout and a roster full of kids who want to play tennis and have been working really hard to play tennis. I expect us to be competitive and a contender for the state championship once again this season.”

Looking to shine as first-year starters this season are seniors Nathan Pickett and Ben Schafler, who will lead the singles unit, along with sophomore Ike Pappas.

In doubles competition, Kenny Rose and Kannon Rose will pair together, along with the duo of senior Brett Pendleton and junior Tyler Lemmel.

Huxford said she knows her boys will be challenged constantly, with opponents looking to knock off the reigning champions.

“It’s a new season, but I always feel there’s a target on our backs,” she said. “We’ve been a really good team in the past and I expect us to be a really good team this year.”

The girls team also comes into the season with an entirely new core and looks to retool this season.

“Our main focus this season is to work with our players and get them better,” girls coach Jami Pappas said. “We have to start somewhere and this is our season to retool and stock up on players. We have a lot of natural athletes on our team who are picking up the sport very quickly. I look forward to a great season.”

Senior Reggi Gibbs, who is the only member returning to the team, will anchor the singles unit, while sophomore Lillian Mikkelson is expected to be the girls’ No. 2.

For doubles, sophomores Julia Carmichael and Chiara Steffes will team together as the girls’ No. 1 tandem, while juniors Callie Torgesen and Rose Randall and freshman Chayce Larson and Madeline Morris will pair together.

Contact Robert Vendettoli at BCRsports@gmail.com.

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