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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Sikeston tennis team returns state experience; to open season today

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Sikeston's Kyle Weeks returns a shot.
SIKESTON -- Returning a wealth of experience from last year's team which placed second in districts, expectations are high for the Sikeston tennis team.

"We return seven guys that played some varsity last year," said Sikeston coach Brian James. "We lost one varsity player, so looking at it on paper we should be fairly strong, particularly at the top of the lineup."

Leading the way for the Bulldogs will be senior Peter Jones in the number one position followed by junior Marc Leible playing in the number two slot.

"Peter's been to state three times and Marc Leible went last year in singles. So they've gotten some valuable experience up there," James said.

A pair of seniors will hold down the third and fifth spots for the Bulldogs. Chris Robey, who is beginning his fourth year on varsity, will play in the three slot and Kyle Weeks is slated to start the year as the number five player.

(Robey's) really looking to get to that state tournament this year," James said. "Kyle Weeks has played varsity the last couple of years. He's a tough competitor, having been a wrestling qualifier as well as playing on the tennis team."

Freshman Sam Zhao stepped right into the varsity lineup and will begin the season in the fourth spot for the Bulldogs.

"He's a good player but doesn't have a lot of experience," James said. "He's very talented, he hits the ball very well. He's played a lot, it's just a matter of getting match experience."

One question mark for the Bulldogs this season is who is going to fill the final varsity spot.

"We return a couple-three guys that played at that spot last year," James said. "We're just looking for somebody to step up and take it. There's basically seven or eight guys that have all been pretty even in practice. We're just looking for one of them to decide he wants it and take it."

With this season's team heavy on experience, the goals are set high James said.

"The goals are pretty well the same every year -- try to win a district tournament and send as many people as you can to state," he said. "Realistically you'd like to win all your dual matches too."

The Bulldogs will begin their season today when they travel to Kennett to take on the Indians. The first home match is scheduled for April 1 against Dexter.