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Wolverines gunning for some upsets this fall

Photo by Brian Hansel Wadena-Deer Creek tennis standout Macy Hartman is back for her senior year. Hartman is expected to fill the top single spot on this year's club.

Vicki Smith and her Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines are out to surprise their court tennis competition this season.

"The girls have set a goal that we're going to beat some people we're not expected to beat this year," Smith said.

With 21 girls on the roster, Smith has a lot of talent to assess as she heads into the 2012 tennis season. On top of the good numbers, the Wolverines did not lose any players to graduation. Smith has 12 girls back from last year's varsity club and some promising newcomers.

Senior Macy Hartman will anchor the team, and Smith expects her to play No. 1 singles.

"She's a leader from the get-go," Smith said.

Macy's younger sister, Paige, is back for her junior year, and Smith is very high on her abilities. With Macy sidelined early in the 2011 season as the result of a basketball injury, Paige stepped in at No. 1 and made Macy reclaim the spot.

"Paige is also a very strong leader," Smith said. "She is a very thoughtful, intuitive player. She just thinks through her game and has a plan."

Tentative singles starters include juniors Sarah Najjar and Abby Wegscheid and sophomore Desiree Isola.

Najjar picked up singles experience as the club's No. 3 singles player last season. Smith likes Wegscheid's work ethic and dedication. Isola played No. 4 singles last year and brings a strong competitive drive to the court.

"One of our goals is to work on mental toughness," Smith said. "When you go out there in a singles match, you've got to be able to regroup and keep your mental toughness."

Candidates for doubles action include seniors Hanna Jacobson and Molly Kraemer, juniors Ashley Carlson and Marie Hunt and sophomores Anna Kraemer and Elise Kallevig.

Smith feels her doubles players are right on par with each other in ability. Matching them up to make the best teams will be the challenge.

"They all have different strengths," Smith said. "On any given day, any one of them could beat another."

Others vying for playing time will be sophomores Jordana Albers, Samantha Kirkland, Maddie Hinojos and Macy Folkestad, freshmen Hope Norenberg and Gabrielle Weiher and eighth graders Whitney Eickhoff, LaRissa Evans-Masio and Nicole Miller.

Mid-State Conference foe Staples-Motley is currently ranked fifth in the Class A state tennis rankings. Smith also expects strong competition from Pequot Lakes and Park Rapids.