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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

LC, GP girls renew rivalry

J.D. Larson Correspondent

Last year marked the end of one GSL tennis program’s hold over the league title, as well as the emergence of another’s potential to become the next league dynasty.

Lewis and Clark’s girls knocked Gonzaga Prep out of an undefeated seven-year perch atop the league – making way for another program stringing together league titles, Mt. Spokane’s boys.

With the 2003 and 2004 league titles, the Wildcats now look toward this season with the potential for three straight.

It starts at the top for Mt. Spokane, which returns singles all-league senior Logan Napolsky. Napolsky finished third at districts last year, and fell in the consolation semifinals of the State 4A tournament. Napolsky is joined by rising junior Jon Assmus and returning doubles all-league junior Matt Dorr, now competing at No. 4 singles, but likely to move back into doubles for the Inland Empire Tournament and postseason play.

“We’re fortunate that they (Logan and Jon) spent a lot of time playing this off-season,” Wildcats head coach Marshall Mah said. “They’re both USTA-ranked in the Northwest. They played in lots of USTA-sanctioned champions tournaments, which is the highest level.”

Mah lost five seniors off last year’s squad, but has put together a strong program, with 45 players turning out this season.

One thing Mt. Spokane doesn’t have is the reigning district champion, Lewis and Clark sophomore Ben Gullickson.

Gullickson and LC should, along with Shadle Park and Gonzaga Prep, contend with the Wildcats for the league title. All four teams reside in the American Division of the GSL, and will all play each other once, early in the season.

On the girls side, Gonzaga Prep looks to battle its way back to the front of the pack, but will have to do so with a much younger team than last year’s edition.

“We should be challenging for the top of the league,” G-Prep head coach Donna Lenseigne said. “We only have five seniors out of 16 girls, it’s kind of a rebuilding year.”

GP has senior Mackenzie McLean playing No. 1 singles, with returning doubles all-league junior Amy Esmay at No. 3 singles, but with Lenseigne’s young team, everything is subject to change.

Lewis and Clark’s girls bring back four all-league performers from last year, including 2003 district champion, senior Anna Gullickson, Ben’s sister. Gullickson finished second last year. Senior Kasie King, all-league in singles, and Natalie Cholaj and Elise Otto, all-league in doubles, return as well.

After dropping their first match, though, the Tigers have an uphill climb to join Mt. Spokane as repeat champs.

“Back to back was sweet,” Mah said. “But we’ve got a solid chance to three-peat.”

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