Coach: Garry Stredney, 29th year
Returning starters: Jr. Matthew Barlow, Jr. Kaynan Anderson, Jr. Connor Kijowksi.
Abilene tennis players and fans, get ready to rumble. It could be an interesting season.
The regular schedule includes tournaments at Smoky Valley, Hays, Salina South and Junction City, and it was learned just Thursday that Abilene will be headed to McPherson for the Class 4A regional.
At the regional will be Class 4A 2011 state champions Smoky Valley, state runner-up Hesston and Buhler, ninth place last season. Host team, McPherson, tied for third a year ago in Class 5A.
Yes, it could be an interesting and difficult season for the Cowboys.
“I’d rather play in 5A,” said Abilene coach Garry Stredney, who starts his 29th season. “We play those teams throughout the year anyway.”
Also at the regional will be Chapman, Clay Center, Colby, Concordia and Larned.
But the Cowboy team has some muscle to compete.
Heading the list of returning starters from last year is junior Matthew Barlow.
In No. 1 singles, Barlow won the North Central Kansas League title. He placed third at the regional to qualify for state. In a windy state tournament in Lindsborg, Barlow placed eightth.
Two juniors are back from playing the No. 2 spots from a year ago. Kaynan Anderson was the NCKL champ at No. 2 singles. Connor Kijowski was teamed with Connor Dunlap who graduated in 2011 to win the No. 2 NCKL doubles’ title.
“Matthew has a lot of athletic ability and a lot of tennis experience,” Stredney said. “Kaynan and Connor have played for years and will make a very good No. 1 doubles team.”
Expected to play a role on varsity this season are seniors Trey Jackson and Ben Weissenbach, Stredney said.
Stredney is expecting his Cowboys to challenge for the league title with Concordia, Marysville and Chapman.
The season starts with a junior varsity tournament Tuesday, March 27, at Smoky Valley. The first varsity match will be Thursday, March 29 at Abilene. The Cowboys will host Marysville and Manhattan.
Michael Willey is the assistant coach and Alex Bathurst is the team manager.
On the pre-season roster are:
Seniors: Trey Jackson, Ben Weisenbach, William Yeager.
Juniors: Kaynan Anderson, Matthew Barlow, Connor Kijowski, Cody Lokken, Marcus Pastran.
Sophomores: Noah Callis, Justin Houser, Nolan Mayden, Tyler Schiffner.
Freshmen: Keegan Gose, Gabe Johnson, Reggie Koop, Jordan Luty.
Abilene 2012 Varsity Tennis Schedule
March 29 3:30 p.m. V BTN Abilene Quad
April 3 3 p.m. V BTN Smoky Valley Trny.
April 5 3:30 p.m.V BTN Junction City Dual at Abilene
April 9 1 p.m. V BTN Hays Trny
April 12 3:30 p.m. V BTN Concordia Quad
April 14 9 a.m. V BTN Salina South Dual
April 17 1 p.m. V BTN Abilene Trny
April 19 3 p.m. V BTN Salina South Trny
April 21 9 a.m. V BTN Junction City Trny
April 26 3:30 p.m. V BTN Concordia Quad
April 28 9 a.m. V BTN NCKL — Abilene
May 3-4 V BTN Regional McPherson
May 11-12 V BTN State TBA
Abilene 2012 Junior Varsity Tennis Schedule
March 27 3 p.m. JV BTN Smoky Valley Trny
April 2 3:30 p.m. JV BTN Abilene Tri
April 10 4 p.m. JV BTN Abilene Dual
April 16 1 p.m. JV BTN Abilene Trny
April 24 3 p.m. JV BTN Salina South Trny
April 30 1 p.m. JV BTN NCKL — Clay Center (Abilene)
May 1 3:30 p.m. JV BTN Concordia Quad