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Vikings will be singles-minded

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KENNETH M. VELOSKEY
April 5, 2008
— It’s a new boys tennis season at Janesville Parker, but the Vikings aren’t starting over this spring.

Parker High will rely on its entire singles lineup returning to improve on last season’s 2-6 record in Big Eight duals. The Vikings tied for seventh with Beloit Memorial and Sun Prairie in last season’s conference meet.


Middleton swept through the league, posting an 8-0 dual record and winning the conference meet.


“Last year, we really were an inexperienced group,” Parker coach Mike Fuhrmann said. “We had JV and eighth-graders coming up.’’


Instead of insecurity, Parker players are stepping up in competition to decide the top four singles spots this season.


Mitch Curless, a senior, holds the No. 1 position, but he is being challenged by sophomore Nick Gilbank and junior Jason Knutson.


“It’s Mitch’s job to lose,” Fuhrmann said. “It will be interesting to see where they end up.’’


Gilbank played No. 2 as a freshman, and Knutson held the No. 3 spot last season.


Fuhrmann said Curless is looking strong so far.


“Curless has become much more patient,” the coach said. “He can hit with the best of them, but he became too impatient last season.’’


Gilbank was voted the team’s most valuable player last season.


“Nick has a lot more experience, and that should carry him a lot farther this season,’’ Fuhrmann said. “As a freshman, Nick was not sure what to expect, but now he knows what to expect.’’


Knutson has grown in experience and size, too.


“Jason has grown 2-3 inches since last season,” Fuhrmann said. “He is one of the most athletic players on the team.’’


Jason Wood, a senior, will fill the No. 4 singles slot.


“Wood is another guy working on his patience,” Fuhrmann said.


Fuhrmann said juniors Ethan Zillmer and Matt Knutson—Jason’s brother—will fill the No. 1 slot in doubles.


The No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams will be decided between six players. They include seniors John Zillmer and Ken Konkel, and juniors Kyle Walker, Jake Lewis, Jeff Beighley and Dylan Peyer.


The Vikings are scheduled to open the Big Eight dual season Tuesday at Madison East.


Parker’s schedule, with home matches at Palmer Park:


(4:15 p.m. unless indicated)


APRIL: 8—At Madison East. 12—Fort Atkinson Quadrangular, 9 a.m. 18—Parker Quadrangular, 3 p.m. 22—Beloit Memorial. 24—Middleton. 26— Craig Quadrangular, 9 a.m. 29—Madison La Follette.


MAY: 1—At Madison West. 3—Stoughton Invitational, 8:30 a.m. 6—At Janesville Craig. 8—Sun Prairie. 12—At Madison Memorial. 17—Big Eight meet, Nielsen Stadium, TBA. 19-20—WIAA subsectional, Palmer Park, TBA. 22—WIAA sectional, Lake Geneva Badger, TBA. 29-31—WIAA state individual meet, Nielsen Stadium, TBA.



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