When it comes to sheer numbers, Columbia City girls’ tennis didn’t lose a lot of girls to graduation.
However, where the Lady Eagles lost their lone senior comes at the top singles spot.
Filling the void left by Kaycee Bills, sophomore Celine Rongos hopes to make her own impact on what Columbia City has set as a season with high expectation.
“We have a lot of experience back,” Columbia City head coach Kathleen Myers said. “Of the six years I’ve coached this is probably the most experience we’ve had.
“It’s exciting because we have so many back and I think that’s going to help tremendously this year.”
Rongos is a big part of that experience returning for Columbia City.
As a freshman, Rongos recorded the only win in the 4-1 sectional loss to state-ranked Fort Wayne Canterbury.
According to Myers, Rongos will move into the No. 1 singles position.
“Celine got a lot of experience at two singles and worked hard this offseason,” Myers noted. “And even though we lost Kaycee, which is going to be huge, Celine is going to step right in and do well.”
Columbia City returns after going 8-9 overall in back-to-back seasons.
Last season, one point that was almost always a sure bet came from No. 1 doubles.
Back as seniors, Maddie Hinen and Madi Sjahfiedin solidify the top doubles position in 2011 giving Columbia City a Lady Eagles pair that shares more than just the tennis court together.
“They have the experience because they’ve been at one dubs,” Myers said. “They gel so well together because they’re good friends anyway. We’re really hoping for big wins from them this year.”
The Lady Eagles top duo returns after going 5-2 in the Northeast Hoosier Conference and earning a second-team all-conference honor.
“It’s comforting because they’ve been out there so they know how to play and work through a match,” Myers commented.
Jenee Schneider also returns in No. 2 doubles for the Lady Eagles. Schneider will be paired up with Brianna Hicks to start of the season.
After an invitational at Logansport Saturday, Columbia City opens the dual season at Norwell next Tuesday. The Lady Knights are one of many teams Myers says will be a tough win in the NHC this season.
“I think once we get into conference we can get rolling,” Myers said. “Carroll and Homestead are the ones we’re always chasing. Hopefully, we can knock them off this year or at least get closer to them.
“But I think East Noble, New Haven and Norwell ... we’ll have to see and hopefully we can get off and running.”