Shiann Olberding

Abilene senior Shiann Olberding, front right, returns for her senior season of Cowgirl tennis. Olberding and Kylie Coup, back, were NCKL and Regional champions a year ago and finished fourth in the state.

Abilene High School tennis coach Megan Berry will welcome senior Shiann Olberding back for her final season as the coach looks to put the puzzle pieces together after losing four of her top six players from a year ago.

Olberding is a three-time state qualifier and two-time state medalist in doubles for the Cowgirls. One piece of the puzzle that Berry must figure out is who will slide in next to Olberding at number one doubles. Kylie Coup had been there for three seasons.

Olberding and Coup rattled off a great season for the Cowgirls last year by winning a North Central Kansas League title, regional title and fourth place in the Class 4A doubles bracket at the state tournament.

Junior Bella Sims should return to play singles. As a sophomore, Sims won the league title at number two singles and was a strong contender at a tough regional tournament.

“I’m really excited for this season,” Berry said. “We graduated some really wonderful seniors that we will miss. We graduated four of last year’s top six, which means there are some holes to fill. The fun thing is that we have so many talented girls to work with and lots of options to try. That’s a testament to how hard they work, being able to play multiple positions.

“We bring back good varsity experience with Shiann and Bella, but I’m confident all of our returners will step up and fill the void,” the coach said.

Berry and assistant coach Diana Wildman have experienced depth with juniors Abi Lillard, Maggie Gillispie and Matigan Kobiskie returning along with sophomores Maddie Beswick and Allie Cross.

The NCKL girls’ tennis titles generally run through Abilene as the Cowgirls were once again league titleholders last year.

“League play is always so tough in girls tennis,” Berry said. “If we play well, I think we are certainly in the hunt for another league title, but none of our league schools can be taken lightly. We’ll have to earn anything that comes our way.”

Berry begins her eighth season as head coach when Abilene opens the year at the always-tough Hesston Tournament on Aug. 29.

“We’re ready to get out there,” Berry said. “Start competing and have some fun.”

Contact Ron Preston at sports@abilene-rc.com.

Cowgirl Tennis 2019

Aug 29 at Hesston Tourney

Sept 5 at Chapman Quad

Sept 5 at Clay Center Tournament

Sept 12 at Smoky Valley Tourney

Sept 21 at Clay Center Invite

Sept 26 at Salina South Tourney

Oct 1 at Chapman Quad

Oct 5 NCKL at Chapman

Oct 8 Abilene Tournament

Oct 12 at Regional – TBD

Oct 18-19 at State - TBD

Contact Ron Preston at sports@abilene-rc.com.

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