CONYERS - Salem's tennis teams are hoping for bigger and brighter things in 2008.
And with the number of starters Salem has returning on both the boys and girls teams, a stronger finish is certainly within reach.
The Salem girls return nearly all of their team from last season.
Leading the way in girls singles action are Jessica Dias (No. 1 singles), Chelsea Reagan (No. 2 singles) and Peyton Teague (No. 3 singles).
The doubles teams will be led by Chelsie Slifko and Cecily Wilson at No. 1 doubles. The No. 2 doubles team is composed of Kerrie Grunnet and Randi Estes.
"We've got a strong lineup coming back," Salem girls coach Arthur Hawkins said. "We've got all our girls back with one addition. Our No. 1 from last year, Chelsea Reagan, is playing at No. 2, and Jessica Dias is playing at No. 1. I'm very impressed with the way they've started this year. They're very coachable and they're unifying. This year, I'm stepping up a little bit more to instill discipline and intrinsic motivation to ensure that our girls are ready. I feel that we have a lot of potential."
The boys don't return as many starters as the girls do, but that doesn't mean the Seminoles don't have the potential to be just as talented on the court.
"We have a lot of athletic kids," Salem boys coach Kevin Crabb said. "We have cross country
runners and swimmers that haven't played a lot of tennis, but they're real competitive. We're looking for those athletic abilities to come out and have the players convert those skills onto the tennis court."
Returning from last season is Robby Williams, who will play at No. 1 singles. Logan Gunzenhauser will play at No. 2 singles, while Tommy Zarna looks to be Salem's No. 3.
Chris McAdams and Justin Chapman will lead off at No. 1 doubles, while Bo Bateman and Blake Hullett are slated to play No. 2 doubles.
McCullers and Bateman are both cross country runners, while Taylor Horton and Logan Gunzenhauser are swimmers. Hullett is a football player.
In Salem's first action of
the year, the two squads squared off against Cedar Shoals. The Lady Seminoles prevailed 4-1, while the Salem boys were edged 3-2.
"The Salem girls were victorious in the first outing. Our team responded greatly and shall continue to unify and play as a team," Hawkins said.
The Lady Seminoles' only loss was at No. 1 singles. Reagan won 6-2, 6-0 at No. 2 singles and Teague triumphed 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 at No. 3. In doubles action, the team of Slifko-Wilson won 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, while the Grunnet-Estes tandem won 6-2, 6-1.
The boys were outdone in all three singles matches, however, the Seminoles swept in the doubles matches.
The McAdams-Chapman duo won 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 at No. 1, while the Bateman-Hullett team won 6-3, 6-2 at No. 2.
Both Salem teams hit the court again Tuesday at home against Alcovy.
Brandon Evans can be reached at email@example.com.