Maize seniors and girls tennis doubles partners Paige Lungwitz and Jess Holman almost have an unfair advantage in matches.
“We’ve been playing together since seventh grade,” Holman said. “We definitely know each other.”
Lungwitz said: “We’re pretty close. I really like it a lot, because we have great chemistry together.”
And it is that chemistry that has led them to 25 or more match victories in their first three years and why Maize is favored to repeat as Ark Valley Chisholm Trail Division I champion.
For Lungwitz and Holman – as well as coach John Anderson – the goals don’t stop with a league title; all three said they’d like to have a good showing in the Class 6A tournament.
A year ago, Lungwitz and Holman posted a 29-14 mark, but could only muster a ninth-place finish at state.
“They get to the big stuff (at state) and they play the worst they’ve ever played,” Anderson said.
Still, they remain undaunted.
“Their attitude is very positive,” Anderson said.
A year ago after winning league, Maize captured its regional and finished 10th at state.
Anderson said the goal for this year is to get into the top levels at state.
And the play of the Lungwitz-Holman team will have a huge say in that, he said.
“They’re three-year state qualifiers and three-year state medalists,” he said. “They should have a decent year.”
Holman agreed, saying she and Lungwitz want to flourish in their senior year.
“We’ve gotten ninth the past two years,” she said. “We want to move up a few notches.”
“I’m really hoping to go farther together and win together,” Lungwitz said. “I’ve seen progress and growth, and coach pushes us to become better each year.”
In addition to Lungwitz and Holman, Anderson also returns three other state qualifiers – junior Hannah Hills and seniors Sydney Shields and Audrey Stingo. Each posted at least 20 victories last year.
Shields and Hills are likely to head the Eagles’ singles attack.
“Both have put a lot of time into improving since last year,” Anderson said.
He won’t have trouble with numbers, as Maize had 49 girls out for tennis this year.
“On paper, we’re looking good,” Anderson said.
The Eagles will get a good reading on where they stand Saturday, as they are among the schools taking part in the Wichita Collegiate Classic in a field that also includes Arkansas City, Blue Valley West, Eisenhower, Maize, St. Thomas Aquinas, Kapaun Mount Carmel, Bishop Carroll North, Blue Valley Northwest, Blue Valley Southwest, Blue Valley West, Buhler, Derby, Eisenhower, Maize, Wellington, Trinity Academy and host Collegiate.