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GOSHEN – For the past five year the North Oldham High School girls’ tennis team has been the bully on the block winning the regional tennis crown.
This year, the Lady Mustangs no longer have two-time state singles champion and six-time regional champion Lauren Kline, but they are looking at a more balanced lineup in hopes of taking a sixth crown next week in Frankfort. “We’re not quite as overpowering this year as we have been in the past, but we are still a very good team,” NOHS coach Todd Arterburn said. “We think we have a very good chance of winning it.” The Lady Mustangs will receive a stiff challenge this year from several teams including in-county rivals Oldham County and South Oldham along with Franklin County, Shelby County and Bullitt East. NOHS will have experience heading into the tourney including No. 1 doubles player Rachel Wurster and No. 1 singles player Lauren Renaud. Wurster and Renaud teamed last year to win the regional doubles crown and Wurster has been a member of the last four doubles titles. Wurster is teamed with Maddie Waits this year and they are expected to battle for the crown. Caitlin Hickey at No. 2 singles along with Renaud are expected to keep the Lady Mustangs in the title hunt. OCHS could be a top challenger for the crown this year behind its singles tandem of freshman Kamber Heil and Nicole Miller who has an 11-2 record at No. 2 singles. “Our girls have had a really good season,” OCHS coach Loni Hammons said. “We’re hoping to get some of them seeded in the tournament.” The Lady Colonels’ No. 1 doubles team of Hannah Guest and Paxton Roberts is also a top contender for a regional crown. The No. 2 doubles team of Jessie Caswell and Claire Daugherty could also score points for OCHS. South Oldham could make a run as well. The Lady Dragons return experience behind seniors Alexis Faller and Alex Tolsdorf and junior Ashlynn Mahanes. Tolsdorf reached the doubles quarter-finals last season as did Mahanes. SOHS defends In the boys’ tournament, SOHS is the defending champion and will be in the fight this year with NOHS, Franklin County and Bullitt East on their heels. SOHS is led at No. 1 singles by sixth-grader Jordan Pitts. Sophomore Jason Pitts, Jordan’s older brother has been steady at No. 2 singles and SOHS coach Wood McGraw called them “interchangeable” at the singles spots in a very balanced region. “This is the strongest singles field in the Eighth Region since I came here seven years ago,” McGraw said. The Dragons’ ability to defend their title could well hinge on their doubles teams of No. 1 Jeppe Stig-Nielson and William Reed and No. 2 Austin White and Steve Mayborg. “The strength of our team is in our doubles,” McGraw said. “If one set of those guys can win the region or we can get one to the finals we can win it.” NOHS will challenge behind its two strong singles players in No. 1 Cyrus Moslemi and No. 2 Alec Papovich. Moslemi, a transfer from Washington County reached the state quarter-finals last year and is undefeated in regional play. Papovich finished third in the region last year. NOHS has also had improved doubles play from Darius Moslemi and Tyler Kilameli and Tyler Gilbert and Eddy Hernandez. The Mustangs are unbeaten in regional play this year including a win over SOHS. “We think we have a very good chance to win,” Arterburn said. “So much of it depends on the seeding and getting a good draw, but based on the regular season we are hopeful.” OCHS is looking to play spoiler this year. “We have the potential to knock some people off in singles and doubles,” Hammons said. In singles No. 1 Kyle Stewart and No. 2 Payton Roberts have both won some big matches while the No. 1 doubles team of Matt Stewart and Tom Schaller have held their own with the region’s best. The Colonels’ No. 2 doubles team is Josh Walker and Drew Myles. “I think the regional tournament will be very interesting for the boys,” Hammons said. “There is nobody that is dominant.” E-mail us about this story at: firstname.lastname@example.org.