Coach: Brad Nelson
Top returners: Julia Arulandu, jr.; Kathryn Danosky, sr.; Erin Connolly, sr.; Addi Lowe, sr.
Top newcomers: Sophia Blankenship, sr.; Emma Larson, jr.; Casey O’Brien, jr.
Worth noting: Batavia has long been an exemplary program in high school tennis. The Bulldogs won their fourth consecutive DuKane Conference title and a sectional title last year and placed 43rd out of 152 programs in the state. Arulandu and Connolly, a spectacular duo, are back after posting a 30-10 record last year and a second-place finish at sectionals. They will headline a group looking to maintain Batavia’s conference dominance. The Bulldogs lost eight of 11 players from last year’s lineup to graduation, including Kane County Chronicle Tennis Player of the Year Dhruthi Daggubati.
“Our goal is always to compete for weekend tournament titles, a conference title and a sectional title along with advancing players to the state tournament,” Nelson said.
Coach: Zach Evans
Top returners: Aashika Jain, sr.; Lexi Meier, sr.; Annie Tomko, sr.
Top newcomer: Corlett Klein, fr.
Worth noting: Geneva graduated eight from its varsity roster, so there will be plenty of opportunities for several players to grow into new roles. Tomko, who made a state appearance in doubles last year, is among the top returning players.
Coach: Matthew Bulman
Top returners: Kelsey Jacob, so.; Avary Sitarz, jr.; Sofia Radovic, sr.
Top newcomers: Layla Sutaria, so.; Trinity Tecson, jr.
Worth noting: The Saints return three state qualifiers from last year’s team – Jacob, Sitarz and Radovic. Sitarz lost her No. 1 doubles partner to graduation, but Alex Nagel is rejoining her. They teamed together during their freshmen season. Jacob and Radovic have competed for the No. 1 singles spot. Ana Avila and Sadie Seebeck are a doubles pairing that is pushing for the No. 1 spot. [Avila and Seebeck] put in an incredible amount of work in the offseason and are miles ahead of where they were last year,” Bulman said.
“We have some great players at our [Nos.] 3 and 4 spots. We just need to get the chemistry right. Overall, we have incredible depth and incredible talent,” Bulman said.
Coach: Sean Masoncup
Top returners: Alli Gizewicz, sr.; Shannon Lu, jr.
Top newcomer: Danielle Dejanovich, fr.
Worth noting: Gizewicz, a three-time all-conference selection, and Lu, a two-time all-conference selection, headline North’s returners. Maddie Zubel, Lauren Ford, Eva Weyman and Reece Thomas also are among the returning players and expected to contribute. Dejanovich will either compete at No. 1 singles or doubles in her first varsity season.
“With this blend of experience and fresh energy, we’re aiming to be competitive every match,” Masoncup said. “Our daily practice sessions are dedicated to honing consistency and pushing for improvement at every opportunity. The tennis scene in the area looks promising for the year ahead and we’re excited to embrace the challenges and make our mark.”
Interstate 8 Conference
Coach: Beth Miller
Top returners: Lauren Andrews, sr.; Abby Grams, sr.
Top newcomer: Ellie Taylor, jr.
Worth noting: Kaneland returns its top doubles team in Andrews and Grams. Taylor is projected to be the Knights’ top singles competitor.
“We did not qualify for state last year, but are very hopeful for this season,” Miller said.
Girls Catholic Athletic Conference
Coach: Connie Woodford
Top returners: Sarah DuVall, sr.; Tes Ketterman, sr.; Laney Runde, sr.; Emma Woodford, sr.
Top newcomers: Liv Ketterman, fr.; Peyton Saltijeral, jr.
Worth noting: In her first season as coach, Connie Woodford is armed with six returning players from last year’s team that finished second in the conference. Tes Ketterman and Emma Woodford are back as the top doubles team. Runde and DuVall project to be the top singles competitors after combining to win conference at No. 2 doubles. Megan Molenhouse and Ellie Wronski also are returning seniors and Connie Woodford looks for them “to have strong showings this year.”
Coach: Tom Castronovo
Top returners: Lauren Cleveland, sr.; Ashley Rajcevich, so.; Cameron Rajcevich, so.; Elizabeth Szalek, jr.
Top newcomers: Tenley Eltoft, jr.; Kendall Shields, jr.; Ella Wozniak, sr.; Sasha Zellinger, jr.
Worth noting: The sport with the largest participation at St. Francis is tennis with 80 girls this season split on four teams. The program also recently unveiled its Loughman Family Tennis Center. Top singles player Ashley Rajcevich leads four returning players from a team that took fourth at sectionals and was 19th at state. Elizabeth Szalek (No. 2/3 singles), Cameron Rajcevich (No. 4 doubles) and Lauren Cleveland (No. 4 doubles) are the other returning players. The varsity graduated 12 of 16 from last year’s team. St. Francis this season moves to the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference, which includes Fenwick, Loyola Academy and St. Ignatius.
“I have a ton of confidence in my girls, but with so many new to varsity, we have to work out our doubles pairs and chemistry and our position order. That’s a work in progress that will take some time and time is short. I remain optimistic,” Castronovo said.