Fairbanks - The Juneau-Douglas High School tennis team opened with its first matches of the season on Friday and Saturday in Fairbanks, and the early results are promising for the season ahead.
JDHS played against Fairbanks area high schools - including West Valley, Monroe Catholic, Hutchinson, Lathrop, North Pole and Eielson - and the Bears held a 29-13 advantage over their opponents in the weekend matches, posting a winning record against each high school except for the West Valley varsity, which defeated JDHS's varsity in seven out of ten matches. The Bears JV however won five of seven matches against West Valley's junior varsity.
Bears coach Amy Skilbred said the annual trip to Fairbanks gives the team a great opportunity to match up against good competition and said she was impressed with the way her team played in all of their matches.
"It's great to go up to Fairbanks and play the six schools up there because it's the first time we've played any teams outside of Juneau," she said. "It gives us an opportunity to see how we stack up against other schools after losing so many seniors from last year."
Skilbred noted the JDHS boys' doubles teams, particularly the duo of Alex Campbell and Nathan Fosket, for finding the most success in Fairbanks. The pair made short work of boys' doubles teams from both West Valley and Lathrop, defeating them 8-0 and 8-2, respectively.
JDHS also got strong boys' doubles performances from Riley Paul and Matt Vandor, who edged out a West Valley pair 8-7 in a nail-biting victory. Vandor and Forrest Wilcox defeated a Monroe doubles team 8-3, and Fosket and Paul earned a relatively easy win over a Monroe pair 8-0. Wilcox and Evan Carnahan tacked on an 8-2 victory of their own over a Lathrop team to continue the JDHS boys' doubles dominance.
Assistant Coach Kurt Dzinich said he thought the team responded well to the first matches of the year and added that the trip was especially helpful for identifying where the team can still improve.
"After practicing for a month and seeing what everybody can do, we can really pinpoint what the kids really need to work on," he said. "And we can actually start trying to tailor what needs to be worked on this week in practice."
The Crimson Bears season continues later this week when they travel to Anchorage to play area schools.