FAIRBANKS-The state championships in high school tennis start Friday morning. Interior hopefuls were at the Alaska Club last night practicing inside since states is played on indoor courts.
Region champ Dana Lemay is the fourth seed in girls singles. West Valley's Jared Lees is number 2 in boys singles and North Pole's Teryl Lemay comes in sixth.
The doubles teams could make noise. In mixed doubles West Valley's Harrison Alford and Catherine Sample are the third seed but regional one seed Rachel Jordan and Brett Carlson of Lathrop are threats as are the Lathrop boys doubles team of James Kardash and Alex Jordan and Monroe's Nathaniel Brose and Sebastian Griffin. Lydia Bjornstad and Leona Sawyer are the fifth seed in girls doubles.
The players talk about their teams and progression.
"I have like, a lot of trouble with hitting my serves in every time and playing it back every time but I've gotten really better, a lot better this year," Carlson said.
A lot of the tennis players emphasized the need for mental toughness.
"I try to stay positive and most of all have fun because when you get mad at yourself you don't play very well," Dana Lemay said.
Dana's brother Teryl believes he's gotten better right in time for a the state tournament matches.
"I played not as well as I thought I would at the beginning of season but I've progressed really well over the rest of the season, my team as well," Teryl said.
"The pressure scares them at first," Milo Griffin said. Griffin is the head tennis coach for both Lathrop and West Valley. "So us getting through that first game for our kids is going to be the dilemma because once we get by the first game, if we win that, then we're in pretty good shape."