The Wichita area is home to some of the top girls tennis talent in Kansas and the Midwest region.
Here are the top 10 high school girls players ahead of the 2019 girls tennis season this fall:
1. Clara Whitaker - Kapaun Mt. Carmel, Jr.
Whitaker is the two-time defending Class 5A singles champion. Last year, she finished 31-1 and beat Bishop Carroll senior Brittany Steven for the second straight year, 6-1, 6-0. Now, her top competition in Kansas might come from within her own team. Andover’s De-Hoo Lee was the last singles player to win three straight 5A singles titles from 2013-15. Before her it was Kapaun’s Corey Steven from 1999-2001 with the last win coming with a team title, too.
2. Reagan Boleski - Kapaun Mt. Carmel, So.
Boleski was named the Kansas Junior Female Player of the Year as a freshman last year and came third in Class 5A with a 24-6 record. She helped Kapaun to a runner-up finish as a team. She has a massive hurdle to get over in her two-time champion teammate. Only five 5A players, singles and doubles, return in 2019 with fewer losses from last year.
3. Kylie Aufdengarten - Wellington, Sr.
Wellington’s runner-up doubles team returns in 2019, and Aufdengarten is the senior leader looking to capture a state championship. Last year, the pair lost to Collegiate’s Hannah Geoffroy/Sydney Lair. That team has graduated, and Aufdengarten and her teammate Rylee Rusk appear to be top contenders in Class 4A.
4. Jacey Arnett - Arkansas City, Sr.
Arnett was part of the Class 5A doubles state championship team along with former Ark City senior Kelsie Burr. They went 27-2. Now Arnett must take over the Bulldogs’ program and try to keep it at the forefront of Kansas high school tennis and Class 5A. No other Ark City player returns with state tournament experience.
5. Paige Stranghoner - Bishop Carroll, Jr.
One half of the 5A runner-up doubles pair and state championship team, Stranghoner will be Bishop Carroll’s top returning player in 2019. She and former doubles partner Lauren Steven won’t be back together this season, so it’s unclear whether Stranghoner will play singles or doubles, but she will be among the top point-scorers. Stranghoner/Steven lost to Ark City’s Jacey Arnett/Kelsie Burr 6-4, 6-4 in the title match. Only Arnett returns in 2019.
6. Michaela Martin - Hesston, Jr.
Martin and her sister were named to the Eagle’s All-Metro team last year after capturing the Class 3-2-1A doubles championship. Kylie, her sister, has graduated, but Michaela returns to the Hesston lineup looking for another title. The sisters went 26-4 last year and beat KC Christian’s Juliet Bartels/Emily Arnold in the title match. They return this year.
7. Rylee Rusk - Wellington, Jr.
Wellington has a decision to make. If Rusk and her doubles partner from last year stick together for 2019, they will have a shot at a state championship. If they split up and play singles, they both still might. Together, they came runner-up in Class 4A.
8. Sallie Lair - Collegiate, Sr.
Lair is one of two returning state qualifiers from last year along with her 2018 doubles partner senior Steph Gentile. They finished fifth at state last year, and if they stick together again in 2019, they would likely improve. Lair is the sister of last year’s doubles champion and All-Metro selection Sydney Lair.
9. Venus Thanasouk - Campus, Sr.
In at least the past two years, no Wichita area doubles team has finished in the top 12 of Class 6A. If Thanasouk and her partner sophomore Aspen Ames compete again together in 2019, they might break through after winning their regional last year.
10. Annabelle Adams - Circle, Jr.
Circle tennis is on the rise. The boys placed sixth, and then-junior Carson Mosier landed on the All-Metro team. In 2019, Adams could keep the run going. She came runner-up in her 4A regional last year and came in third at state. The champion and runner-up have graduated.
BEHIND OUR REPORTING
The selection process
Preps reporter Hayden Barber selected these players based on questionnaires sent to coaches, last year’s performances and his own personal evaluation and knowledge of Wichita area high school athletics.
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