The Juneau-Douglas tennis team heads to the state tournament in Anchorage with expectations to compete with the best Alaska has to offer.
Crimson Bears coach Amy Skilbread said all of the players look strong and they're expecting a good tournament.
"We have the fourth seed in the girls' doubles and the mixed doubles, and have pretty good draws the rest of the way," she said. "As for how we do in the tournament, it's unknown. But I think we have a chance to do pretty well."
The Crimson Bears, who placed fifth at last year's state tournament, will be sending eight players, four girls and fours boys, to Anchorage.
Senior girls' co-captain Sammy Alex will represent JDHS in the girls' singles bracket. Alex is one of only two players on the team with state tournament experience.
"Obviously, the expectations are to win," Alex said. "But Anchorage and Fairbanks have really good teams so we just hope to play our best. We've been working really hard."
Sophomore Evan Carnahan will attempt to hold his own against the state's best in the boys' singles bracket.
Juniors Marlena Sloss and Cassidy Davenport will team up for girls' doubles play, and the senior pair of Nathan Foskett and boys' co-captain Alex Campbell will compete on the boys' doubles side.
"We have a strong team this year and have high expectations going to Anchorage," Campbell said. "We're all really excited and we know if we play our game, we'll be successful. There's some really tough competition up North. We've seen a lot of what they have up there, but we still haven't seen it all."
The JDHS boys' doubles team of Aaron Cohen and Nathan Graves were the state runner-up last season.
The mixed doubles duo of seniors Eddie Hurtte and Sage Davenport round out the competition for the Bears.
The mixed-doubles pair of Brian Vandor and Laurel Messerschmidt were state champs last season, so Hurtte and Davenport have big shoes to fill.
Skilbread said the team has been working hard this week in preparing for the tough competition they'll face up north.
"The team has been playing matches this week, working on positioning, strategy and doing some final touch ups on strokes," she said. "But you don't want to change a whole lot between now and when the tournament starts."
JDHS will play matches today and tomorrow in Anchorage.
Juneau Empire ©2014. All Rights Reserved.