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Smith leading Wolverine tennis team

Photo by Brian Hansel Former JV coach Vicki Smith shows her Wadena-Deer Creek tennis team a serve during a Monday practice session on the WDC courts.

Vicki Smith and her Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines are not used to the luxury of a three-week training schedule before going into action. Whoever is ready to play varsity tennis will be on the court Saturday when the Wolverines travel to Park Rapids - the first of four matches in August.

Smith is taking over the varsity reins from Peter Tranvik this season. She is WDC's fourth head tennis coach in four years but her credentials and knowledge are first-rate. For the past eight years Smith has been the junior varsity coach.

Junior Macy Hartman will be WDC's No. 1 singles player before mid-season but the returning sectional qualifier is presently hampered by knee surgery.

"She is focused," Smith said. "She will go the extra mile. She can mix up her shots and she has a nice varsity. She can move her girl around the court."

Taking Hartman's spot at No. 1 in the early going will be sophomore Paige Hartmann, a consistent player who Smith has noted will fight for a point all the way.

Sophomore Sarah Najjar is another singles candidate. Najjar played both singles and doubles last year.

"She never gives up and that goes for everything, she hustles," Smith said.

Sophomore Ashley is expected to see action as both a singles and a double player.

"She's a strong player on doubles so I will probably use there," Smith said. "She has a nice stroke."

Junior Molly Kraemer is back after a one-year absence from the game. Kraemer's forehand is as good as her backhand and she has shown her coach good consistency.

Hanna Jacobson returns to head to doubles ranks. Jacobson played No. 1 doubles for the Wolverines last year but needs a new partner after the graduation of Anna Meltzer.

"She's tall and she can protect the net," Smith said.

Sophomore Abby Wegscheid has been with Smith since the seventh grade and makes the jump to varsity with her coach. Wegscheid has impressed Smith with the time she has put in during the off-season to improve her game.

Sophomore Maria Hunt is also likely to see some doubles action. Hunt was the JV team's Most Improved Player last year showing both a good forehand and backhand.

"She has power," Smith said. "She just has to channel that."

The Wolverines will be a young team without a senior on the roster.

"A goal for this year would be to nail down our doubles teams as early as possible so the girls can really gel by tournament time," Smith said,

Staples-Motley and Park Rapids will be two of the Mid-State Conference's best teams. Pequot Lakes and Detroit Lakes also have some talented players. Roseau and Park Rapids shape up as the section favorites.