Middleton's girls tennis team ready to roll

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Karsen Dettman is Middleton’s No. 1 singles player this season after finishing second at state in doubles last year./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

When Terry Geurkink saw the opening, he had his résumé ready faster than a Serena Williams forehand.

And why not?

Middleton’s girls’ tennis program has everything a head coach could want, from talent, to tradition to support from the administration. So when Guerkink was recently named the Cardinals’ new head coach, naturally, he was elated.

“The Middleton girls’ tennis varsity coaching position was appealing to me because of the challenge of coaching a traditionally successful program, and the challenge of coaching in the highly competitive Big Eight Conference,” said Guerkink, whose team began its new season Monday at the La Crosse Central Invite.

For the most part, Middleton has met that challenge through the years.

The Cardinals have been to the WIAA Division 1 state team tournament seven times since 2006, highlighted by a state title in 2013. Middleton hasn’t been to state since 2014, though, and would like to change that this fall.

That won’t be easy, as Middleton graduated its entire singles lineup and returns just five of its top-10 players from a team that finished second at sectionals.

But Guerkink, who has 15 years of coaching experience at both Verona and Oregon, believes there’s enough talent for the Cardinals to compete.

Junior Karsen Dettman, who teamed with Maddie Clark to finish second at the state doubles tournament, will likely move to singles.

Senior Jessica Pientka and junior Noor Rajpal, who played No. 2 doubles last year and also won a match at state, will likely move to No. 1 doubles. Junior Cece Hujanen and sophomore Rose Ryan are expected to move from No. 3 doubles to No. 2.

The rest of the spots are up for grabs.

Senior Maddie Hoffman, who played some varsity matches last year, should take on a greater role. Freshman Sophia Agapov will likely play in one of the singles positions.

Seniors Annika Hellenbrand, Maylynn Hu, Nika Agapov and Anya Newcomer, along with junior Julia Zhang will also compete for varsity spots.

“Goals for the team include improving every practice and match so the team will reach its potential in the end of season tournaments,” Guerkink said. “We want to help the players meet the challenges along the way, and help them enjoy every step of the season's journey.”

Guerkink has written a book called “Tennis Training Games and Tips for Ambitious Coaches, Players, and Parents.” There’s no doubt the veteran head coach is ambitious to get the season started and see what his Cardinals can do.

“My coaching philosophy is this: To inspire our players, and to help them develop their tennis skills, as well as their self-discipline, sportsmanship, and honesty, so they may reach their potential on the tennis courts, in the classrooms, and in their future endeavors,” Guerkink said.

 

Girls Varsity Tennis Roster

*Jessica Pientka, senior

Maddie Hoffman, senior

Annika Hellenbrand, senior

Maylynn Hu, senior

Nika Agapov, senior

Anya Newcomer, senior

Karsen Dettman, junior

Noor Rajpal, junior

Cece Hujanen, junior

Julia Zhang, junior

Rose Ryan, sophomore

Sophia Agapov, freshman

* — Captain

 

 

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