The River Valley Wildcats tennis team includes players from Sleepy Eye Public, St. Mary's and Springfield High Schools.

The River Valley Wildcats tennis team includes players from Sleepy Eye Public, St. Mary’s and Springfield High Schools. The relatively inexperienced team finished the 2019 season with a record of 1-15. Their season ended with a loss to Blue Earth, the eventual section champion, in the section tournament.

The Wildcats should compete at a higher level this year with more experience and a number of new players on the team.

Head Coach: Shane Laffen

Assistant Coach: Brandon Andrews

Players lost to graduation: Kathryn Schroepfer and Deniz Demirturk, who finished last year on the 1st and 2nd doubles teams.

Top returning singles players: Brooklyn Moldan and Kaydince Thoms, SEHS juniors.

Top returning doubles players: Megan Stevens, SEHS senior; Alexis Garza and Erika Lozano, SEHS juniors; and Sydne Wahl, Springfield junior.

Others with varsity experience: Jasmyne Windschitl and Lexanna Lazatin, SEHS seniors; Julia Groebner, Springfield senior, Presley Dockter, SEHS sophomore.

Other returning players: Taylor Berkner, SEHS 7th grader; Kiera Lafferty, Erika Wells, and Gabby Anderson, Springfield freshmen.

Wildcat newcomers: Hana Zeig, SEHS 7th grader; Reagan Schmidt, SESM 7th grader; Brissa Hernandez, SEHS 8th grader; Lucy Schmidt, SESM 8th grader; Jillian Mays, Springfield 8th grader; Anna Rossbach, SEHS freshman; Bryn Gordon, Springfield freshman; Courtlyn Runck and Annabella Holles, Springfield sophomores. Hailey Meinart and Carmen Lendt, SEHS juniors and Maya Nelson, SESM junior.

Coach’s comments:

We bring back our top two spots — juniors Brooklyn Moldan (All-Conference last season) and Kaydince Thoms. As you can see, we have many new players, so we have been trying to distinguish our top 10 who will compete on varsity. This top 10 may change throughout the season, as we look to have six to eight players competing for four spots at this point.

Players showing the most improvement from last season are 9th grader Kiera Lafferty (Springfield) and 7th grader Taylor Berkner (SEHS) who played 3rd and 4th singles in our first match against Fairmont on Aug. 24.

Conference: Big South – west division

Section: 3A

Teams to beat: Blue Earth, Fairmont and St. James look to be the section favorites.

Season goal: We are still relatively young, but expect to compete at a higher level this season. We will focus on helping all players improve and hope that the competition for varsity spots will put us in a position to compete at an even higher level throughout this season and next season, as we have a strong group of players who will return as seniors next year.

The River Valley Wildcats have home meets on Sept. 3, Sept. 8, Sept. 10, and Sept. 21. Play begins at 4:30 p.m. Varsity plays on the courts at Eagles Park, JV plays at Kiefer Park.