Back in 2007, then-freshman Tiffany Khounsombath got to learn from the best that Maize girls tennis ever had to offer.
Khounsombath watched three future college players lead the Eagles to a Class 6A second-place finish, the best by any Maize team.
Now, it's her turn to be in that position as she enters her senior season.
"Tiffany saw some role models on that team and now it's her time, her turn to lead," Maize coach John Anderson said.
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Khounsombath returns as the defending Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League and Class 6A regional champion following a 31-12 record in 2009, finishing ninth at the state tournament.
This year, she wants to return the favor to the younger teammates as a leader to them.
"That's definitely a goal of mine for this year, I want to lead more by example, I feel like it's my duty," Khounsombath said.
Khounsombath gets to lead another deep and talented team. The Eagles return 6A tournament qualifiers in five of six positions.
Senior Kari Rezac returns to singles after an ankle injury forced her to play doubles last year. Partner Anna Friesen also returns.
Sophomores Paige Lungwitz and Jess Holman won a regional championship and advanced to state.
Those five combined for 124 wins last year.
"I feel like our singles and doubles should be pretty strong," Rezac said. "We have state experience under our belts in both and playing against the toughest opponents only helps you get better and better."
Lungwitz and Holman got a taste of just how difficult the 6A tournament can be last year and learned what it takes to be at the top.
"After last year, we set how competitive we needed to be and how hard we needed to push ourselves," Lungwitz said. "Last year at state showed us just how ready we need to be and how stiff the competition is."
"We have a good bunch of kids, good depth. Our goal is to defend our league and regional titles, that's where it starts," Anderson said.