The girls tennis team at Hollidaysburg Area High School and Central High School both won the District 6 team championships, AAA and AA, respectively.
But that is the only thing those two teams will have in common for the 2012 season.
Hollidaysburg returns all of its starters, while Central lost 12 members of its first District 6 championship team.
Mirror file photo by Gary M. Baranec
Hollidaysburg’s Mariah Turiano will attempt to repeat as a District 6 individual champion.
"We are very experienced, as we have all seven of our starters back from last year, as well as four seniors who have been in the starting lineup all four years,'' Holldaysburg coach Brian Denis said. "This is a very competitive group of kids. They have passion for winning and are very determined to be successful. We should be pretty solid at doubles as we have several kids who have played a lot of doubles over the past few years."
Hollidaysburg returns Altoona Mirror first team all-star, senior Mariah Turiano, who last season won the District 6 Class AAA singles championship and earned all-state honorable mention. Junior Marissa Lanzel also comes back this season. She was a member of the Mirror's first team all-star squad.
Central, which won its first ever girls team title last season, has only one returning starter, senior Becky Stern. Stern was named to the Mirror's second team all-star squad.
"After winning the Mountain League and District 6 team championship last year, we graduated 12 seniors off that team,'' Central coach John Riley said. "With 11 new girls and only one returning starter, hopefully the new girls will pick up the little things of tennis and improve quickly. Hopefully, as our new girls improve, we hope to be competitive in our league.''
Altoona's Ashli Livermore also returns for her final season. Livermore was the runner-up in the District 6 AAA singles and doubles championships. She was a Mirror first team all-star last season. Also returning for Altoona is Lauren Lucas, who was Livermore's double parnter in the District finals. Lucas was named the the Mirror's second team all-star squad.
"We have a great one-two punch at the top of our lineup in Livermore and Lucas who have really dedicated themselves to improving over the last year,'' Altoona coach Eric Hovan said. "They have been great leaders by example. We also feel very good about our overall team depth as our next six or seven players are all pretty even."
Bedford, which went 19-1 last season and won the District 5 championship, lost Amanda Hooker, who was a Mirror second team all-star. However, she returns as an assistant coach. Senior Ericka Klavuhn is the only returning starter for the Lady Bisons.
"Despite having an incredibly young team, I'm looking forward to seeing all of my girls grow over the course of the season,'' Bedford coach Nikki DiBuono said. "I have a very good feeling about what they'll be able to accomplish as a team."
The following is a look at each team in the Mirror's coverage area.
Coach: Eric Hovan, 15th year
Last year's record: 12-4
Returning starters: Ashli Livermore, sr.; Lauren Lucas, soph.; Marina Dixon, jr.; Emilee Hollingsworth jr.; Sarah Seidel, sr.
Other letterwinners: Victoria Denz, sr.; Keelie Eberhart, sr.; Jessica Harris, sr.; Kim Letscher, sr.; Marissa Madigan, sr.; Alex Misitano, sr.; Tori Misitano, sr.; Marissa Morgan, sr.; Alexandra Nicklas, sr.; Claire Seasoltz, sr.; Britget Baker, jr.; Alyssa Palfey, jr.; Kayla Letscher, soph.; Lexi Plowman, soph.; Laura Scott, soph.; Kirsten Wills, soph.
Newcomers: McKenzie Madden, jr.; Janna Sheets, jr.; Maryssa Brandt, fr.; Angelica Bryan, fr.; Rio Grassmyer, fr.; Julia Nagle, fr.; Abby Orr, fr.; Alyse Saylor, fr.; Madelyn Seidel, fr.; Taylor Stoudnour, fr.
Strengths: "We have a great one-two punch at the top of our lineup in Livermore and Lucas who have really dedicated themselves to improving over the last year. They have been great leaders by example. We also feel very good about our overall team depth as our next six or seven players are all pretty even."
Concerns: "Like most teams, we are trying to improve our doubles teams for the district/state format. We have 40 girls involved in our tennis program this year. Finding playing time for them all will be challenging."
Overall outlook: "I definitely feel that we are much improved from last season. Our girls are very focused towards winning the district team crown this year. The work ethic and attitude of our girls has been outstanding so far. This has been a very fun team to coach."
Coach: Nikki DiBuono, third year
Career record: 33-2
Last year's record: 19-1 overall
Returning starters: Ericka Klavuhn, sr.
Other letterwinners: Rachel Swartz, jr.; Megan Moorhead, soph.; Megan Wertz, soph.
Newcomers: Amber Lafferty, sr.; Hannah Elyard, soph.; Skye Metner, soph.; Mackenzie Mohr, fr.; Hannah Brown, fr.; Shaunna Glessner, fr.; Alexzandra Minnich, fr.; Alexa Weyant, fr.
Strengths: "I'm fortunate to have a group of dedicated girls who are willing to learn."
Concerns: "We lost six of seven starters last season, so we'll have a lot of fresh faces on the courts."
Overall outlook: "Despite having an incredibly young team, I'm looking forward to seeing all of my girls grow over the course of the season. I have a very good feeling about what they'll be able to accomplish as a team."
Assistant coaches: John Dowey, Amanda Hooker, Katrina Ackley, Rich Ackley
Coach: Barb Fiore, second year
Career record: 13-19
Last year's record: 4-11 overall, 4-10 league
Returning starters: Shannon Murphy, sr.; Elyssa Ehredt, sr.; Halee Adams, sr.; Jess Boslet, jr.; Bridget Rea, jr.; Kathyn Nazaruk, jr.
Other letterwinners: Evie Smith, sr.; Maureen Rhoa, sr.; Adelaide Dumm. sr.; Juliana Burke, jr.; Ashton Truby, soph.; Aliza Sundberg, soph.
Newcomers: Afton Dunkle, jr.; Ally Steven, fr.; Jackie Servello, fr.
Strengths: "We have some all-around athletic players on the team. The girl's summer time commitment in play tennis should show up this season in competition."
Concerns: "We have a lot of girls on the team that I would love to have a chance to see some play time."
Overall outlook: "I'm feeling pretty good about this year's talent, and looking forward to watching it all unfold with this great group of girls."
Assistant coaches: Susan Nardone
Coach: John Riley, sixth year
Career record: 34-35
Last year's record: 12-4 overall, 8-0 league
Conference: Mountain League
Returning starter: Becky Stern, sr.
Other letterwinners: Rachel Claar, sr.; Krystle Pierce, sr.; Rachel Sutton, jr.; Chelsea Johnson, jr.; Ashley Hazlett, soph.
Newcomers: Nicole Myers, jr.; Meghan Schon, jr.; Janine Snyder, jr.; Kayla Imler, jr.; Shanise Rouzer, jr. Mikaela McGraw, soph.; Bridget McCready, soph.; Kayleigh Garrett, soph.; Lexi Ritchey, soph.; Brayley Lewis, fr.; Adrienne Clark, fr.
Strengths: "Four year letter winner and three-year starter Becky Stern returns to anchor the top of the lineup and provide senior leadership. Also, we have a lot of athletic girls out from our school's very successful girls softball and basketball programs."
Concerns: "Outside of Becky Stern, we have no one with singles or doubles experience on the team. Trying to figure out our top-five singles players and top doubles teams will be tough with only one week of practice before we start our matches."
Overall outlook: "After winning the Mountain League and District 6 team championship last year, we graduated 12 seniors off that team. With 11 new girls and only one returning starter, hopefully the new girls will pick up the little things of tennis and improve quickly. Hopefully, as our new girls improve, we hope to be competitive in our league.
Coach: Becky Musselman, eighth year
Returning starters: Taylor Frazier, sr.; Amanda Kostyk, jr.
Other letterwinners: Dawn Bron, sr.; Angel Miller, jr.; Kari Jingozian, jr.; Mikah Hobson, jr.
Newcomers: Jen Carthew, soph.
Concerns: "Small team with not a lot of experience."
Overall outlook: "After seven girls graduating, we are in a rebuilding year. I hope to have a competitive season."
Assistant coaches: Erin Musselman, Heather Edmonson
Coach: Brian Denis, 11th year
Career record: 232-70
Last year's record: 15-1
Returning starters: Mariah Turiano, sr.; Marissa Lanzel, jr.; Susie Ellis, sr.; Nur Cardakli, sr.; Alyssa Kustenbauder, sr.; Sierra Cobler, soph.; Alyssa Pheasant, soph.
Other letterwinners: Elyse Smilnak, soph.; Falon Morris, jr.; Divya Gupta, jr.; Naaila Ali, jr.; Kaylie Gallagher, soph.; Kianna Martinelli, jr.; Emily Brzana, jr.; Amarisa Miles, soph.
Newcomers: Maisie Supp, fr.; Annie Ruggles, fr.; Aly Baum, fr.; Kacie Emeigh, fr.; Lexi Lampard, fr.
Strengths: "We are very experienced, as we have all seven of our starters back from last year, as well as four seniors who have been in the starting lineup all four years. This is a very competitive group of kids. They have passion for winning and are very determined to be successful. We should be pretty solid at doubles as we have several kids who have played a lot of doubles over the past few years."
Concerns: "As a whole, I do not think we have logged the same amount of off-season hours as we have over the past two years, and this could catch up to us. We have only five practice days before our first match against a WPIAL team, so our lineup could fluctaute throughout the season as we are able to get some challenge matches and practices in. Other teams are going to be extremely motivated to knock us off of our perch as three-time defending district champions so we will have a huge target on our backs all year."
Overall outlook: "I am very excited to get this season started. Our goals are extremely high. [They are] to finish an undefeated regular season for the fourth year in a row, win a fourth consecutive district title and hopefully have a district singles and/or doubles champions. The last three years these girls have set the standard of success so high that we are aiming for nothing less than our highest of goals. By adding five Pittsburgh teams, this will be our toughest schedule ever, and we hope to keep our streak of 40 consecutive regular season victories alive."
Assistant coaches: Ed Bettwy (Volunteer)
Coach: Alan Secrest
Career record: 8-46
Last year's record: 2-6 overall and league
Conference: Mountain League
Returning starters: Summer Hunter-Kyser, sr.; Aly Kratzer, sr.; Abby Snare, jr.; Katie Gipe, jr.; Leah Mitchell, sr.; Katrina Dreibelbis, sr.
Other letterwinners: Veronica Jeffries, sr.; Annie Oswald, jr.; Jasmine Weyant, soph.
Newcomers: Kim Cresswell, sr.; Taylor Shea, sr.; Amanda Gaugler, fr.; Hannah Foust, fr.
Strengths: "We are getting back a solid player that was away last year in Summer Hunter-Kyser, and with abilities to play with just about anyone, we should be able to do well in league play as we have players ready to step into the single positions from last year."
Concerns: "Getting through the first couple of matches and getting some game experience, then developing our doubles teams and getting the right matchups early in the season."
Overall outlook: "We are very consistent, and the team can improve as our season progresses."
Assistant coaches: Rick Lombard, Mark Secrest, Sean Oswald
Coach: Mike Hample, eighth year
Last year's record: 7-8 overall, 5-3 league
Conference: Mountain League
Returning starters: Anastasia Hollen, so.; Keturah Weaver, sr.; Olivia Gailey, jr.
Other letterwinners: Shannon Gearhart, so.
Newcomers: Jordan McCormack, jr.; Abby Crider, fr.; Marlena Wagner, fr.; Paige Padula, jr.
Strengths: "We have lot of experience at No. 1 through No. 4. No. 1 and No. 2 should be very strong this year."
Concerns: "There's little depth with only eight girls."
Overall outlook: "We should be very competitive in the Mountain League, barring the loss of any players."
Assistant coach: Kim Gailey