Action on the tennis court is underway for the 2022 season at Laramie High School.

On Monday, Laramie played Kelly Walsh. The opponent on Tuesday is Sheridan. There are nine more dual matches on the schedule for the 2022 season.

Laramie returns four starters from its eight-player lineup on both the girls’ and boys’ roster from last year. The Plainsmen finished second in the South Region and took third at the state championships in 2021. The LHS girls were fourth in the region and sixth in the state.

Head coach Elizabeth Clower is in her eighth season leading the program. She’s excited about how practice went leading up to the start of the season.

“We have a lot of new players, which is great. A lot of new freshmen that are very coachable, working very hard, and then, we have our veteran players who are working hard.”

After starting practice with the separate teams, the approach changed to skills-based assessments to get the squads ready to play.

“The kids are working hard. They’re looking good. I’m really excited about what I’m seeing.”

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Two of the returners for LHS are junior Mia Wallhead and sophomore Paulo Mellizo. Recently, they talked with KOWB’s David Settle about the 2022 season, how the Laramie teams look, and some of their expectations for the team and themselves, individually.

Mellizo is joined by returners Gage Hepworth, Gavin Baker, and Declan O’Connor. They played in one position of the lineup at the state championships last year.

Clower said she’s had some boys’ players putting in extra time in the offseason.

“Once again, they’re going to make it hard to choose the top eight, but they are really looking good. They are aggressive in their doubles. Their serves and returns are better than they were last year, so I see a lot of improvement.”

The LHS boys defeated defending state champion Kelly Walsh, 3-2, on Monday. Mellizo won his match at No. 1 singles, while the No. 2 doubles tandem of Ryan Dennis and Spencer Killpack, plus the No. 3 doubles team of Carson Kruegar and Matthew Pikal picked up victories.

The four returners for the girls are Wallhead, Hannah Peterson, Ruby Dorrell, and Morgan Moore.

LHS lost to defending state champion KW, 5-0, on Monday in girls’ action.

Clower knew that her girls’ lineup would feature more young players.

“I’m seeing a lot of athleticism. Some, that are actually understanding the nuances of the game, which is great for freshmen. I’ve got a group of about seven freshmen girls right now, that if they keep going, they’ll be something to deal with later.”

Clower added that if they keep improving, they’ll be a factor as the season goes along.

“I’m excited to see them (this young girls’ team) play and develop. There’s a lot of potential.”

Laramie will also have home matches against Cheyenne South (Aug. 22), Cheyenne East (Aug. 30), Rawlins (Sept. 8), and Torrington (Sept. 9), which will be Senior Day.

The South Regional Tennis Tournament will be in Rock Springs on Sept. 16 and 17, 2022.

The 2022 Wyoming High School Tennis State Championships are back in Gillette on Sept. 22-24, 2022.

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