Morgan Francis, Macy Moyers, Jami McVay and Brianna Schartz are set to make their Great Bend High School 2012 varsity tennis debuts today at the McPherson Invitational.
Francis, who posted a 24-9 record at No. 1 singles en route to a Class 5A state tournament berth last season, returns at No. 1 as a sophomore.
She has been pushed in the preseason by Moyers, a freshman, who will be serving as the No. 2 singles player.
“It definitely pushes me to practice harder and get better,” Francis said during the preseason of the competition at No. 1 singles. “It’s something that is driving me with the team, kind of pushing me.
“Yes, I love competition, so I don’t have a problem with it. (Moyers is) really good, so it can do nothing but help the team, so I don’t see anything bad in that.”
Francis, who was a fourth-place regional placer, spent the offseason honing her skills.
“I went to a lot of summer tournaments, trying to gain more experience,” Francis said. “I practiced really hard in the heat.
“I’ve just been practicing, mainly, just staying back in tennis, so I don’t have to come back and work back up.”
McVay and Schartz are both juniors this season, coming off a 25-13 season. They were second-place finishers in regional play to advance to the state tournament.
“I think Brianna and I have both improved individually,” McVay said. “It just depends this year on how hard we want to work and we just need to get out here after practice and after hours to just make ourselves better.
“Brianna has always been our strong net player, and I am better at groundstrokes and serving. We’ve been playing together since we were really young. We’ve always planned on playing together as a doubles team since we were little as we were best friends. Doubles partners, best friends … sisters.”
McVay and Brianna Schartz made a goal last year of winning a doubles state championship before they graduated. Shannon Schartz, Brianna’s father, who embarks on his 35th season this fall, has said he wants them to win it this year.
“Last year, I think we didn’t do as good as we should have,” McVay said. “The bar is definitely set a lot higher. I think this year is going to be really good, so we’ll see at state.
“Our freshman year, we didn’t feel as much pressure because we were the young ones, so we just went in there and just did our best. This year, we’re the old ones on the team, so we have a lot more pressure, too.”
Brianna Schartz says it’s been a long-running thing with her net partner.
“We’ve been best friends since kindergarten,” Brianna Schartz said. “We both have our definite strengths. I’m stronger at the net, and Jami has amazing groundstrokes. I think there has always been a higher expectation for me because he is my Dad and I have wanted this for so long. It’s time to show it now.
“There’s so much pressure on us. We just know that we have to come out this year and this is our shot. We can’t wait until our senior year to go.”
McPherson JV Invitational
No. 1 singles — Rebecca Dawson, 1-2, seventh place
No. 2 singles — Kira Bunn, 1-2, fourth
No. 1 doubles — Jessica Freund & Morgan McIntosh, 0-2, ninth
No. 2 doubles — Taylor Huslig & Carly Boyd, 0-3, eighth
GBHS placed eighth out of nine teams