Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Howells Enjoying 1st Season Knights, Vikes Both Find Success as They Join Dominic with Programs

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Howells Enjoying 1st Season Knights, Vikes Both Find Success as They Join Dominic with Programs

Article excerpt

It has been a year of new experiences for coach Tony Grippi and the first-year girls tennis program at Francis Howell North.

"Going in, none of us knew exactly what to expect," the coach said. "I'd say I'm pleased, but I'm not surprised. A few of the girls had some tennis experience and we're playing a lot of first- and second-year programs. The girls have worked hard and I think we're seeing the results of those efforts."

The Knights are 5-3 this season.

"It has been exciting," Grippi said. "The girls have enjoyed some success and they've helped establish a new program here. Hopefully, the success that teams like us, Howell and St. Dominic have enjoyed will help lead some other area schools to add girls tennis in the future.

"I think it'd be great if we had more girls tennis teams on this side of the river."

The Knights have been paced by their top singles players - Hilarie Jezik (7-1), Stef Kraay (5-3) and Brittney Russell (7-0).

"All of the girls have been working hard to improve their game," Grippi stressed.

Both Howell North and Howell will compete in the Class 4A district tournament at Ladue next week.

"It's our first district, obviously, and we're not sure what to expect. I don't even know who we'll be playing against," Grippi said. "The seeding meeting is later this week and the district's next week. All I know is that we're going to do the best we possiby can."

Like Grippi, Francis Howell coach Mary Martin has been pleased but not surprised with the success of the first-year Vikings.

"The girls are giving it 100 percent and that's really all you can hope for," the coach said. "I'm proud of the girls and they should be proud of themselves. We've come a long way this season and we're still getting better."

The Vikings (3-4) have received consistent play from their doubles teams - Kami Malon and Kimberly Wallace, Shelly Smith and Kristi Tyas and Megan McClellan and Sheri Ganter. Singles players Christa Cowan and Amanda Becker also have been out. …

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