WHEELING - With some high-end talent returning on both her boys' and girls' tennis teams, much of it with state tournament experience, Wheeling Central coach Peggy Dailer has plenty of reason for optimism.
Seniors Brett Szeligo, Daniel Lee, Ben Gordon, and juniors Jonathan Haley and Billy Teufel return from a squad that won the regional and qualified four players for the West Virginia Class A-AA state tournament, with Haley reaching the state at No. 3 singles.
Other members of the team are freshmen Gus Schmidt and Eric Hasenauer.
Graduation claimed a key player in Jacob Mayles, who bowed out in the quarterfinals at the No. 1 singles position, then teamed with Szeligo to get that far in No. 1 doubles.
The Maroon Knights girls won the regional tournament for the fourth season in a row last spring, then wound up as state runner-ups in A-AA.
Senior Bianca Saporito returns, as does junior Joanna Capito, who was all-stater for the second year in a row. Other members of the team are juniors, Nadine Metzger and Maricris Pangilinan.
Capito advanced to the state semifinals, then teamed with her sister, Natalie, and made a run to the quarterfinals at the No. 1 doubles position at last spring's state tourney.
Key losses to graduation for the Central girls were Natalie Capito, Brynn Jenkins, and Christine Gompers. Gompers won a state championship at No. 4 singles.
"The Maroon Knights boys' team is looking forward to returning to the court with the goal of returning to Charleston to compete for state championships," Dailer said. ''The girls' team is looking to gain experience with each match played with sights set on a winning season.''
Dailer returns for her 23nd year at the helm. Judy Mayles returns for her fourth season as her assistant.