TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Central hopes to end a five-year regional tennis title drought today.
The Trojans enter play in the 11-team Division 1 field at the Midland Tennis Center as the favorite.
Central had won 12 Division 1 regional championships in a row before dropping down to Division 2 five years ago. That’s where the Trojans ran into powerhouse Forest Hills Northern, finishing second in the regional all five years. During that span, Forest Hills Northern won four state crowns and placed second the other year.
“They kept us off the board,” Central coach Larry Nykerk said. “We were only two points off last year.”
Now back in Division 1, the Trojans appear ready to reclaim regional dominance. Central is seeded No. 1 in five of the eight flights. The Trojans are the No. 2 seed in the other three flights. Dow earned two No. 1 seeds and Traverse City West one.
“I’m really hungry to get a regional (today),” Nykerk said.
Central comes in ranked No. 5 — the 10th consecutive year the Trojans have been ranked in the top 5.
Earning No. 1 seeds are Paige Cooley (23-3) at No. 1 singles, Kelly Milliken (22-4) at No. 2 singles, Leah Potter-Katie Raymond (23-3) at No. 2 doubles, Devon Dotterrer and Abby Palisin (23-3) at No. 3 doubles and Amelia Pezzetti and Molly Whiting (25-1) at No. 4 doubles.
Drawing No. 2 seeds are Christi Druskovich (20-6) at No. 3 singles, Taylor Weckstein (22-4) at No. 4 singles and Kitty Mast and Elizabeth Pappas (21-5) at No. 1 doubles.
“We have a lot of depth,” Nykerk said. “We’re pretty solid all the way through our lineup.”
Druskovich and Weckstein both lost three-setters to the No. 1 seeds in their flights — Dow’s Afoa Ofori-Darko and Nicole Dobrzelewski.
West’s Monica Hessler and Sydney Diss are seeded No. 1 at No. 1 doubles. Hessler and Diss beat Mast and Pappas earlier this week to lock down the top seed.