TOP 10 SINGLES
1. Clara Whitaker, Kapaun freshman
Whitaker enters the high school ranks as one of the top 2021 recruits in Kansas and if there was ever a question of how her game would translate to older opponents, she answered them with a title-winning performance at the season-opening Collegiate Classic. Whitaker has the talent to contend for a 5A title immediately.
2. Brittany Steven, Carroll junior
Steven won 30 games as Carroll’s No. 1 singles player last season, as her sophomore season ended with a fourth-place finish at the 5A tournament. After another strong summer, Steven figures to be right back in the mix for the 5A singles crown.
3. Sydney Lair, Collegiate junior
As it is most years with Dave Hawley at Collegiate, it’s unclear whether his players will ultimately chase a title in the singles or the doubles field. Lair reached the state championship match in singles last season, compiling a 21-3 record. No matter where she ends up, Lair will be a threat for a 4A title.
4. Lauren Conrad, Collegiate junior
Just like her teammate Lair, Conrad could also move to doubles this season if coach Dave Hawley decides to alter his lineup from last season. Conrad moved to singles late last season and thrived, ending the season on a roll and eventually winning the third-place match in 4A.
5. Lillie Williams, Maize junior
Williams had an up-and-down sophomore campaign that ultimately saw her narrowly miss the medals in the 5A field. But Williams put in the work this summer and the early results indicate she has taken her game to the next level, evident by an impressive third-place finish in the season-opening Collegiate Classic.
6. Sydney LeFevre, Goddard senior
LeFevre has had a standout career at Goddard, tacking on nearly 30 wins last season and a sixth-place finish in the 5A singles field at state. In her final season at Goddard, LeFevre seems poised to chase the 30-win barrier and improve on her finish at the state tournament.
7. Maisie Edmonson, McPherson senior
McPherson is another program that loves tinkering with its lineup, so it’s unclear if Edmonson will remain at singles this season. That’s where she ended up for her junior year, as she finished with 17 wins and a seventh-place finish at the state tournament in 4A.
8. Sabrina Bellar, Conway Springs senior
Bellar is a three-time state qualifier as a singles player for Conway Springs, as she finished in seventh place in the 3-2-1A field last season. With that much winning experience, Bellar figures to be a contender to move up her ranking this season in 3-2-1A.
9. Michaela Esau, Buhler senior
After an ultra-successful pairing last season with Kendra Nachtigal, which ended in a third-place finish in the 4A doubles field at state, Esau will move to Buhler’s No. 1 singles spot for her senior season. Esau has the experience of winning under her belt and expect that to translate to singles.
10. Sensey Cadman, Independent sophomore
Gone are the Riedmiller sisters from Independent’s state championship team, but there is still some talent for coach Simon Norman. Last season Cadman went through Independent’s rigorous schedule as the team’s No. 2 singles player, but she’ll ascend to the top spot this season and figures to give Independent another strong presence at the top of its lineup.
Next five: Sydnee Foster, Hutchinson junior; Aditi Joshi, East senior; Katrina Mason, Derby junior; Paige Stranghoner, Carroll freshman; Raegan Wessel, Hutchinson senior.
TOP 10 DOUBLES
1. Kelsie Burr (junior) and Chassidy Weathers (senior), Arkansas City
Few partnerships have been as successful as the Burr-Weathers one in Arkansas City. In their first year together, they reached the 5A championship match, then last season they returned and this time rallied for a three-set victory over Kapaun’s Kelly House and Eleanor Baldwin. Burr and Weathers are back for their final season together, as are House and Baldwin, as the two pairings figure to clash often this season.
2. Kelly House (senior) and Eleanor Baldwin (junior), Kapaun
Kapaun coach Kathy Schulte threw the House-Baldwin tandem together at the end of last season and found dynamite. The duo won City League, won regionals, then reached the 5A championship match before losing in a third set to Arkansas City’s Kelsie Burr and Cassidy Weathers — a team the Kapaun duo had beat at regionals. The two teams figure to provide a thrilling rivalry again this season.
3. Hannah Geoffroy (junior) and T.B.D., Collegiate
If there is one set piece in Collegiate’s lineup, it is Geoffroy will be part of the team’s No. 1 doubles partnership. Who her partner is remains to be seen, but it’s safe to say coach Dave Hawley will insert a talented player here and the Spartans will have a title-contending duo in 4A.
4. Brayden Steven (junior) and Lauren Steven (junior), Carroll
Last season Brayden Steven gave Carroll a serious punch as its No. 2 singles player, behind sister Brittany, as Brayden finished fifth in the 5A singles field. It’s still unclear how Carroll’s lineup will shake out, but a possible pairing with her other sister, Lauren, could given Carroll a formidable Steven-squared partnership that could contend in a loaded 5A doubles field.
5. Rachel Binau (senior) and Jessica Sharp (junior), Valley Center
Binau and Sharp teamed up to deliver long-time Valley Center coach Dean Schulz his first regional championship from a doubles team, as they would go on to exceed the 25-win mark and finish fifth at the 5A state tournament. Binau and Sharp return for a final season together, as they will try to move up in what is looking like a loaded 5A field.
6. Mekenna Adams (senior) and Kylie Aufdengarten (sophomore), Wellington
Adams has had a brilliant career at Wellington, picking up three state medals in three years. But her best finish came last season with a fifth-place finish when Aufdengarten arrived as a freshman to team with her as Wellington’s No. 1 doubles team. With another year of experience, the Adams-Aufdengarten doubles team figures to be one of the top 4A doubles pairings this season.
7. Kennadee Utech (junior) and Emma Wituk (junior), Maize
Utech and Wituk had an up-and-down regular season before the pair of juniors took off at the state tournament, as they caught fire and ended up finishing fourth in a loaded 5A field despite having 16 losses on their record entering the tournament. If the duo can pick up where they left off, then Utech and Wituk figure to once again be a top team in the 5A field.
8. Jordyn Maddex (senior) and T.B.D., Andover Central
Maddex had a very successful pairing with Grace Uhlenhop last season, as they nearly won 25 games and finished third in 4A. With Uhlenhop graduated, Andover Central must figure out where to put Maddex in its lineup. Maddex could play singles or she might pair with foreign exchange student Libuse Cermakova, a promising talent, to remain in doubles. Regardless, Maddex will be one to watch this season in 4A.
9. Riley Ruffin (junior) and Sallie Lair (sophomore), Collegiate
Just like every spot in Collegiate’s lineup, the No. 2 doubles team remains undecided. But last season, Ruffin and Lair were thrown together at the very end of the season and barely missed the medals at the 4A state tournament. If the duo stick together, another year of experience could make them a stronger team this season.
10. Makaiya Russell (senior) and Ashley Hubbard (junior), Hesston
Russell is Hesston’s lone senior on the team this season, as her leadership will be crucial to the Swathers’ success. The good news is that she’ll have her partner back in Hubbard, as the duo won more than 20 games last season and finished ninth at the 3-2-1A state tournament. With both returning and moving to Hesston’s No. 1 doubles team, Russell-Hubbard figure to a contender to move up in 3-2-1A this season.
Next five: Beth Walker (senior) and T.B.D., Arkansas City; Kylie Martin (junior) and Michaela Martin (freshman), Hesston; Winnie Shaw (senior) and T.B.D., Independent; Emma Queen (senior) and Kaylan Ebendroth-Fields (sophomore), Maize South; Madi Arnold (senior) and Ana Vo (senior), Maize.