The 2019 season begins Tuesday for Janesville Craig and Janesville Parker’s girls tennis teams.

Both teams feature new head coaches. Pamela Clutson takes over for Steve Mickelson at Craig, while Mickelson moves from the east side to the west side as Parker’s new coach.

Clutson is excited about the opportunity.

“We have a lot of strong, experienced veterans returning this year, which always make a coach happy,” Clutson said.

“What kind of success we have depends on how hard each player worked in the offseason. We only have five days of practice and challenges before we have to set a roster for our first match against Beloit.”

Clutson welcomes back Craig’s top two singles players in senior Kerington Sauser at No. 1 and junior Lucia Hyzer at No. 2.

“Kerington has a lot of power, but she’s added other shots into her repertoire which will only make her more formidable,” Clutson said. “And the same can be said for Lucia.”

Junior Myrka Ceballos and senior Aiko Wolf are expected to start the season at No. 3 and No. 4 singles, respectively.

Senior Jordyn Schroeder and sophomore Allison Grund are penciled in at No. 1 doubles, with senior Madison Denu and junior Autumn Tullar set for No. 2 doubles.

“Jordyn has great doubles strategy knowledge, and although Allison hasn’t played doubles before, she’s a talented player, and the ladies communicate well together,” Clutson said.

Juniors Sage Baumeister and Brooke Pehl have the inside track to play No. 3 doubles.

“We also have some very promising freshmen, and some sophomores and juniors that continue to improve their game,” Clutson said.

Mickelson teaches at Parker, so making the switch across town was the logical thing to do.

“I had no issues at all with the girls at Craig,” Mickelson said. “I really enjoyed coaching there, but it’s just easier being in the same building like I am now.”

Mickelson will have a young core at Parker. His top three singles players figure to be two freshmen and a sophomore.

Freshman Lucy Barnes is at No. 1 singles and sophomore Martha Jacobson is at No. 2.

“Lucy has the mechanics to be a very good tennis player,” Mickelson said. “She just needs the experience.

“And what I really love about Martha is her competitiveness.”

Freshman Alexandra Craker is at No. 3 singles.

The Vikings do return their top doubles team from a year ago. Sophomore Annie Barnes and junior Lydia Quade advanced to the sectional meet last season.

“”It’s a very solid doubles team that has really made strides since the end of last season,” Mickelson said. “And although you wouldn’t normally say this about a sophomore and a junior, they both provide great leadership on this team.”

Senior Ryann Porter will likely play No. 2 doubles, but Mickelson is still tweaking his lineup and is not sure yet who her partner will be.

Seniors Aliciah Schroeder, McKenzie Mohr and Jennica McGuire are slated to play either No. 4 singles or on No. 2 or No. 3 doubles.

“The key for us will be to take things day by day,” Mickelson said. “And I’ve already seen huge strides in the week we’ve been practicing.”

Parker hosts Craig on Thursday in a Big Eight Conference dual meet on the Parker courts.

Lake Geneva Badger tops the list of area teams. The Badgers advanced to the WIAA Division 1 state team tournament last season and return four of six players that competed in the state individual tournament.

Badger sophomore Zaya Iderzul advanced to the quarterfinals in singles, while senior Ava Anderson lost in the quarterfinals of doubles.

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