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2022 Idaho Tennis Preview
Several outstanding male and female athletes are ready to shine in 2022
Published: 3/23/2022 4:08:58 PM

ORDER GAME PHOTOS

Written by: Sean Kane

As winter comes to an end (hopefully) the 2022 Idaho high school tennis season begins. Fun fact: tennis starts in February!

Last year was the first year that schools in Idaho reported their results to tennisreporting.com. The use of a centralized scoring program helped produce strong seeding at the state level. Vince Lombardi said, “Perfection is not attainable but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” Why not chase a perfect database and ranking system for Idaho’s tennis players? It's a step in catching excellence in the progression of Idaho tennis. Idahosports.com is chasing perfection as well by bringing you this high school tennis preview.

5A Girls

Last season, the Boise girls team won districts and state. Boise was able to qualify 12 girls to state. 11 of those girls will be coming back led by the girls doubles champions of Tessa Staley (12) and Lauren Gee (10). Boise High school will also have a new head coach in legendary Boise State tennis leader Greg Patton.

Girls doubles saw some strong teams out of east Idaho as well as returnees Claire Fellows (10) and Drew Simmons (11) of the Highland Rams finished 4th at state. Both Idaho Falls high and Thunder Ridge had strong girls doubles teams, as well.

On the heels of Boise High in the team race was the Eagle girls who finished 2nd in districts and 2nd as a team in state. Eagle coach Percy Chan said, “Only 5 girls return from 2021 so we will have a very young team.”

Turning the attention to girls singles, Timberline brings back Avery Hopkey who is a favorite to win girls singles there this year, as she won in 2019. Capital’s Gina Dudley won girls singles in 2021 and has moved on to Dominican University of California, which means there will be a new girls singles champion crowned this year in 5A.

Taylor Parsley (12) of Rocky Mountain made it to the semis and took 4th place behind Ella Piron (11) of Boise. Rylei Carper (12) of Lewiston came very close to placing in girls singles and will be in the mix of young talent also. Madison coach Lary Duque said, “Madi Blanchard (12) returns for us and has a solid chance to win district girls' singles.” Also in the mix will be senior Liv Taylor of Eagle as she nearly made the podium last year. Girls singles at the 5A level will have lots of fireworks.

Unfortunately, 5A mixed doubles was unable to finish last year due to weather. The team of Alec Tzeng and Riley Bobkiewicz (11) of Eagle were crowned champions. Alec Tzeng is gone for Eagle and depending on what teams decide to put together mixed doubles could be wide open.

However, the Timberline team of Ty Maimer (11) and Delaney Canning (11) might think otherwise if they come back together after taking second place. The mixed state tournament had 17 seniors meaning many teams are gone and some players will have new partners. Mixed pairings throughout the state will be very compelling.

The front runners for the girls team title going into 2022 will be Boise and Timberline. Lewiston and the northern schools in general will have some young talent and hopefully will gain some experience as the year progresses.

In eastern Idaho the girls race could be interesting if senior Cassie Stoddard of Highland comes back after not playing her junior year. In 2019 she took third place in girls singles. Girls districts in the could be a battle between Thunder Ridge and Highland.

But no matter what happens, girls 5A tennis will shine this year.

5A Boys

Teammate versus teammate brought Centennial its first boys team title in school history (2nd tennis title overall). Ryan Olson defeated Tyler Dalos (12) 7-6, 7-6 in the final, which was a reversal of the district tournament matchup where Dalos was able to deafeat Olson.

Olson is now gone and playing at George Fox University, which leaves the door open to a new boys singles champion, the front runner being Dalos. Centennial coach Erin Salisbury said, “Dalos is looking for revenge after a tough loss in the state finals last season. He has worked hard in the off season, playing in multiple national tournaments and improving his UTR. Tyler is committed to playing at Eastern Washington University after graduation.”

Rocky Mountain brings back two strong singles players in Dylan Maude (12) and Indiana Redd (12). Rocky head coach Gary Salazar said, “Boys team is very strong and will be in the running for a state championship.”

Hummza Ali (11) from Timberline will also be in the singles mix alongside JJ Byrne (12) of Boise.

Coeur d’Alene brings back Turner Cox (11), and Dylan Gomez (11) of Lewiston looks strong up north as well. In the east, only Idaho Falls brings back a singles placer in senior Luke Rodel. Boy singles should be very interesting to watch all year.

One of the most high-energy events to watch is boys doubles. This year should be no different at the 5A level. The first and second place doubles teams from Eagle and Madison do not return and leave room at the top this year. More than half the doubles players last year were seniors (18 of 32 players), meaning there will be some shifting and new teams formed.

A big reason Rocky Mountain believes they are state title favorites is the doubles team of Carson O’Hara (12) and Sam Bergstrand (11), who captured third place last year. The sophomore pair of Clay Koessler and Alex Guo from Timberline should be right in the mix as a strong contender, as well.

Madison has some potential in the duo of Pete Barton (12) and Trey Skinner (12). They have state experience and should set them up to have a strong year. The fact of the matter is there will be 9 new doubles teams advancing to state out of district tournaments this year.

5A boys tennis is going to be a dogfight this year all over the state. In the north, Post Falls, Lewiston, and Coeur d’Alene will be battling trying to advance players to state. The Treasure Valley has a new school Owyhee added into the mix. In the east, Thunder Ridge, Idaho Falls, and Madison all have potential to win districts. That said, the boys teams that seem to have the upper hand initially this year are Boise, Rocky Mountain, and Timberline.

4A Girls

In five out of the past six years, the team who wins girls singles wins the team title.

Bishop Kelly senior Miranda Austin comes back to defend her title from last year. Malika Warnick, a senior from Lakeland who captured third last year, looks to improve this year in the standings.

Girls singles overall was young last year and many players will come back improved.

There is a strong group of sophomore girls: Nava Reseska of Sandpoint, Addison Seehawer of Bishop Kelly, and Ayden Akers of Century, who will all be in the mix.

Additionally, coach Vallivue coach Braden Riley said, “Caroline Mecham (12) is returning after a state birth last year.”

Burley senior Sadie Cook has great aspirations after a successful 2021 season. Wood River has two seniors in Maddox Nickum and Meg Keating who both have state experience as well.

Bonneville senior Tailia Trane will be on the singles hunt in the east. Overall, 4A girls singles has a good mix of experience and youth, which should make it an enjoyable watch this year.

It's safe to say every tennis coach loves siblings! That was the case in 4A girls doubles as the Olsen sisters of Hillcrest won state last year. Unfortunately, Regan Olsen was a senior, meaning there will be a new team atop of 4A.

Lily Stroud (11) and Madelyn Ames (10) of Ridgevue made a deep run at state, according to coach Krista Kingson. Tori Thomason (11) and Mariel Stuart (12) of Skyline will be another team looking to compete at the state level.

Bishop Kelly had two strong girls doubles teams last year, although one player does not return. But still, there is a combination of players who could team up. Halle Hatten (11) and Reese Rutledge (11) could be that top team and a state contender this year.

Also, Canyon Ridge head coach Shana Hoge stated, “We have senior twins Frances and Madeleine Roberts back after some state success last year.”

Overall, 4A girls doubles this year will have new faces with some crafty veterans looming.

Half of the eight placers in mixed doubles were seniors last year. The only full team coming back that placed was Lilly Summers (11) and Brevin Kingston (12) from Ridgevue.

JJ Anderson (12) and Tyler Willis (12) from Century will be a strong team after almost reaching the podium last year. Moscow has a team of Sammie Unger (11) and Bryce Hansen (10) returning with some state experience.

Canyon Ridge had a young team of Megan Peacock (10) and Asher Alexander (11) who had some success coming back. They are looking to win districts and set the stage for state. Minico brings a senior pair of Brightyn Hartley and Joseph Link to the table as well.

According to coach Dean LeBreton, Emmett seniors Gabe King and Abigale Church plan on playing mixed this year after both saw success in singles.

Overall, it's fair to say that the 4A mixed will look very different than it did last year.

The favorite to win the girls team title would be Bishop Kelly. They bring back seven of eight players that all made deep runs in the tournament last year.

Hillcrest was second by a large margin last year but hopes to try to close the gap with returnees Barkelee Olsen (10) and Nicole Tran (12). There will be lots of competition with upwards of six teams fighting for placement at state this year.

4A Boys

The boys 4A singles title was held by Austin Swing of Middelton the last two years, but he has moved on to play at Lewis-Clark State. So who fills the void?

Ridgevue coach Krista Kingston stated, “ Noah Nielson (11) is a strong contender to win singles as he placed second last year.” That being said, if your first name is Noah you more than likely played boys singles as there were four last year and they all come back this year: Nielsen, Noah Mesaros (11) of Bishop Kelly and two seniors from Twin Falls in Noah Cox and Noah Pitts.

Marwan Warnick (10) from Lakeland had a good run last year and hopes to make an impact this season. Wood River junior Gus Sabina has also been working hard in the off season according to coach Jamie Hjort.

A player to keep watch on would be Blackfoot’s Filippo Fanton, a senior from Italy who has a solid all-court game if he plays singles.

Another “newcomer” is from Jerome. Tigers coach Nicole Rowley stated, “Michael Lloyd, a senior, comes back after making state his freshman year.” Lloyd was also an all state basketball player for Jerome the past three seasons..

None of the four placing boys doubles teams return, as five of the eight players were seniors. Teams will have an opportunity to put togethers some new teams this year.

Half of the second place boys doubles team comes back from Vallivue, as Jeff Payne (11) will join up with Sam Willcuts (12). Falcons head coach Braden Riley said, “Willcutts and Payne will be my number one doubles team and have been playing together all summer. Both bring big energy to this team.”

The Bonneville senior duo of Dawson Belnap and Jamison Lemon should also be a force after falling just short of placement last year. A team to challenge them will be senior team Grant Neville and Bryten Rothwell from Hillcrest.

Ridgevue will bring back Brevin Kingston (12), who played mixed doubles but might move to boys doubles this year. Middleton has seniors Jordan Malcom and Marshall Short, who have state experience.

East Idaho will have a different look in boys doubles as Century and Pocatello are in a two team district and two new doubles teams will emerge from District 5.

Overall, 4A boys doubles will see many new teams making it very exciting this year.

The top two boys teams this year would be Bishop Kelly and Ridgevue. If Noah Nielson from Ridgevue can run the table in singles, it could be a close race.

Placement spots 2 through 7 were only separated by 10 points last year, showing that whoever can provide some top doubles teams might be in the running to place.

North and east Idaho will be up for the challenge with support from the Magic Valley making the overall 4A boys competition an interesting race this year.

3A Girls

Parma has dominated 3A girls tennis by winning the last seven team titles in a row. Since 2008, when Idaho tennis went to separate boys and girls titles, Parma has won all but three. The team on their heels has been Frutiland with three girls titles.

In girls singles, senior Emma Tolman from Weiser comes back to defend her title. She finished the season with a 19-2 record, avenging two losses to Parma’s Austyn Harris in the state championship match. Tolman and Harris will be battling again this year which should be extremely competitive.

Fruitland coach Drew Judson said, “Parma only lost one girl from last year, just like us, so it will be tough to end their streak, but our girls are looking forward to the challenge.” Leading that effort for Fruitland will be senior Aubrey Saba, who was one match away from placing last year.

Sugar-Salem junior Ana Baurier will be in the singles mix after placing third last year after playing a tight match against Harris from Parma.

Phil Huss, coach of Sun Valley Community school also believes his girls are strong this year with junior Julia Ott leading the way.

Weiser also has senior Kristy Bake, who took fourth last year, making 3A girls singles a very strong and experienced group coming into 2022.

Only one girl does not come back to the top girls doubles teams. Fruitland juniors Ellie Baker and Kennedy Phillips will look to repeat. A combination of Parma’s Maryn Wagstaff (12), Brooklyn Mann (11), and Hailey Sitts (11) could make for a formidable doubles team.

Sun Valley’s Avery Griffin (12) and Whitney Janotta (11) took fourth last year and will be a strong duo this year. Coeur d’Alene Charter has Alexandria Montgomery, a sophomore that will need a new partner but could be dangerous this year.

Any school under 3A enrollment numbers still plays at the 3A level, like 2A Orofino. Maniacs sophomores Madeline De La Cruz and Larsen for should be a strong team with state experience.

Sugar-Salem returns four juniors in their girls doubles ranks. Both pairs won matches and almost ended up playing one another at state. 1AD1 Clearwater Valley will have sophomores Eleah Swan and Ashlyn Ledeboer coming back after making state as freshmen.

Overall, 3A girls doubles will have some close battles, making for a great season.

Team titles on both sides could be decided in mixed doubles this year at 3A. In mixed doubles the points are split between girls and boys and could be the difference maker.

Karli Hancock (12) and Evan Weber (11) from Parma are the favorites and defending champions. The young team from Sun Valley of Gretel Huss (11) and Campbell Spoor (10) should threaten after taking second last year.

Last year Fruiltand captured third and fourth in and brought back only junior Grace Huff with mixed experience. Clearwater Valley brings back all their mixed pairings and should be ready to battle after gaining some state experience. Gooding and Weiser could also bring some different combinations this year that will keep mixed interesting this year.

Parma will be looking for their 8th straight girls team title, which is just unheard of. Fruitland and Weiser both bring back very strong rosters full of girls with state experience. Parma and Frutiland are in the same district meaning there will be some fireworks during the season leading up to state. Sun Valley will have a potent team as well.

3A Boys

Sun Valley won the boys team title on the backs of Gabe Delgado and Aaron Gathrid in boys singles. Both seniors, Delgado won state and Gathrid took second.

Of the top four boys singles players from last year, only senior Josh Francis of Clearwater Valley returns. Parma will have seniors Hayden Ankenbauer and Bryant Sitts both battling for placement sports this year.

Nathaniel Cloyd from Coeur d’Alene Charter will look to build momentum after a good outing as a freshman. Marsing’s sophomore Terrance LaFleur will look to improve and will be in the mix. Senior Austin Franco from Homedale will also be looking to make a run this year.

With so many seniors leaving, the singles competition is wide open for new players.

Boys doubles had similar results; all top 4 placements were senior pairs. In fact, 13 of the 26 boys doubles teams at state were seniors.

Sun Valley again topped this category, meaning new champions and new team possibilities exist across the state. Davis (10) and Alexander Hanigan (11) from Fruitland will have experience and will be a strong team.

Orofino has juniors Connor Portratz and Rayce Miller, who both show potential this year. Walker Spoor and Jack Colgate, both seniors from Sun Valley, will try to pick up the mantle this year after almost making it to the semi-finals last year.

Teams like Weiser, Parma, and Coeur d’Alene Charter will look to build teams to be menaces this year. Boys doubles will have all new teams atop the podium this year.

In 3A boys, the youthful players will have many opportunities to grow and understand what it takes to win at the state level. Fruitland coach Drew Judson stated, “We do not have a lot of experience coming back (five returning varsity players), and we are projected to not have any senior boys on the varsity team.”

This also seems to be the case for the top teams like Sun Valley, Parma, and Sugar-Salem.

Clearwater Valley is a team that was young last year with no senior boys and they are looking to make a move in the standings this year.

The favorite for 3A boys would be Parma closely followed by Sun Valley. Many senior boys are gone and it’s time for new players to step up from multiple teams.

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