The Columbia Falls High School tennis teams are hoping for big things in 2019 as the teams will host both the divisional and state tournament this season.
The doubles teams of John Gilk and Tristan Grein and Taylor Jarrett and Anna Pickard both advanced to the state tourney last season with Gilk, Jarrett and Pickard all hoping to make return trips in 2019.
According to Wildcat head coach Michelle Colliander, both the boys and girls teams have already been hard at work getting ready for their opening matches in Ronan Tuesday.
“We have the courts cleared and we are trying to get the required 10 practices in for as many kids as we can before we are supposed to go to Ronan to open the season,” Colliander said. “Being able to practice outside has been a big help. Practicing in the gym can get so monotonous. We can’t even really work on our skills in the gym.”
According to Colliander, 15 boys and 23 girls have come out for the team this year, with varying levels of experience.
“We want to create life-long tennis players because it really is a fun sport. I would say that 90 percent of the players that show up have only played tennis on the Wii, which is good because at least they know how to score,” she said. “We try to have fun above all else, because that’s what is most important.”
Colliander says that Gilk and Neils Getts should be her top two singles players this season while Hannah Schweikert should be the top singles players for the girls.
The Wildcats will once again be playing their home matches at Flathead Valley Community College, whose 12-court facility makes matches go much faster than smaller venues.
The Cats first home match will come April 4 as the girls host Whitefish while the boys will take on the Bulldogs in Whitefish. Both have 3 p.m. start times. The teams will play at home together for the first time April 11 as they host Polson at 2 p.m.
The Cats will host the divisional tournament May 16-18 and Columbia Falls and Whitefish will co-host the state tournament the following weekend, May 23-25.