Chiefs, Maidens ready to start tennis season with new coach

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Ronan’s first-year tennis coach Leslie Luedtke said she is “very excited” to begin her first-ever head coaching gig at the high school level.

Luedtke, who replaces now retired Chiefs, Maidens’ coach Jim Blow, is no stranger to tennis. A four-year participant for Ronan between 2004-2007 under then coach Gordon Cummings, said she is “excited” about guiding a young Chiefs, Maidens team that experienced a high level of success during their 2017 campaign. Luedtke, who played tennis at the collegiate level at the Spokane Falls Community College, is ready to instill the things she learned with a young and talented group she has returning for the 2018 season.

“I am very excited and I am very nervous to start off our season,” Luedtke said. “Our kids that we have this year are ready to play competitively when it comes to this.”

The Chiefs’ boy’s tennis team will boast of a total of nine players that will be a member of this year’s team.

Some of the major returners will include Coleman Taylor, Thomas Yellowbird, Austin Taylor and Garrett Anderson, from last year’s squad.

One of their seniors, Coleman Taylor, who is signed to play NCAA Division III football with Crown College, brings a lot to the table for the Chiefs’ tennis team.

“Coleman is awesome and is very helpful in trying to help some of the younger guys,” Luedtke said. “They go through plays and drills together. Everyone is quick and hitting overall is better than it was last year. “Thomas Yellowbird is always good; there to help Garret Anderson and they are both ready to challenge our top guys.”

Transitioning from Class B to Class A varies in the competition level for each sport, and for tennis Luedtke said the leap will be significant, especially since Polson, one of the more storied tennis programs in Class A, will now be in the team’s conference.

“Class A is tougher than Class B and there are a lot more kids that we are playing against this year,” Luedtke said. “They will get to see a different level and they are excited (for the increased level of competition). We are trying to prepare to play Polson and Whitefish and not wear our team out because we have such a smaller team.”

Maidens’ tennis ready to start season under new regime

The Maidens tennis team won’t have enough to score as a team, but that doesn’t mean Luedtke still isn’t emphasizing the team concept for her team that consists of three individuals.

“I am trying to keep them as a team,” Luedtke said. “I want my team to look out for one another. I would like to think of them as a team and (our team) is always together.”

Of the three players that Luedtke will have on her roster, the most experienced player she has returning is senior Morgan Brooks. Brooks, who was an alternate at last year’s Class B state tournament, will help aid the other players on her roster including sophomore Madison Sevier and freshman Skyler Shima.

“Our team will be competitive and our freshmen will be very competitive,” Luedtke said. “Maddie and Morgan will be paired as my doubles. They are very competitive and steady. We will see how they match up in the first couple of matches and then we can mix and match some of the doubles teams.”

Despite being a small team, nothing will be given to her players, according to Luedtke. They have to earn it.

“That is how it was back when I was in high school when you played,” Luedtke said. “We try to keep everything as competitive as possible. I want my players to compete for their spot and earn it.”

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