Metro Detroit high school girls tennis notebook: Top three teams, individuals to watch
Here are three teams and three individuals to watch as the high school girls tennis season gets underway.
Ann Arbor Pioneer
Pioneer coach Tom Pullen has his eyes set on something that his team could not accomplish last season: an outright state championship.
Pioneer was Division 1 co-state champion alongside Bloomfield Hills after sweeping the singles events, and the Pioneers look to win outright after returning nearly the entire roster.
Reese Miller, Elsie Van Wieren, Mia Goldstein and Bridgette Kelly all return as individual champions in singles and have not dropped a match yet this season.
“The team is the same as it was last year,” Pullen said. “We haven't lost any individual matches yet but we've had some pretty tough battles, so we're doing well.”
Much like Pioneer, Bloomfield Hills is locked and loaded to make another run at a state championship, with a goal of being the only team hoisting the trophy this year.
Bloomfield Hills won three of the four doubles championships last year and had two singles and a doubles runners-up, earning them enough points for a share of the title. Now, they look to win it all with most of the same roster intact.
There’s hope that singles stars Julia Yousif and Anna Bickerseth can reach the podium, while the doubles duos of Noa Goldstein and Natalie Raab, Carly Bernard and Reagan Tomina and Eryn Stern and Grace Bickerseth look to continue their domination together.
Despite already playing three of the top 10 teams in the state, according to the Michigan High School Tennis Association, Bloomfield Hills is undefeated so far this season.
Troy is currently ranked third in the state behind Pioneer and Bloomfield Hills and has played one of the toughest schedules to date after finishing in a three-way tie for third at the state championship last season.
The group is led by a strong junior class, including all-state returners Hayley Chenfang in singles and Grace Zhu and Stephanie Ochoa, who were state runners-up last year, in doubles.
A year after coming up just short, the hope is that the depth this year can help them get over the hump, despite losing half of one of its doubles runners-up, Nika Tanoko, to graduation. Her partner, Angela Andernin, is a part of the strong junior class with championship aspirations.
Top three Individuals
Reese Miller, Ann Arbor Pioneer
After having her freshman season cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Miller did not let her sophomore season go to waste. In her first year of varsity competition, Miller coasted to the No. 1 singles state championship, which she won, 6-0, 6-1.
Now entering her junior year with a team and individual state title under her belt, the sky is the limit for Miller. She is looking to become the first back-to-back No. 1 singles champion since Davina Nguyen won in 2014 and 2015.
Miller is currently listed as the No. 2 tennis recruit in Michigan and a four-star recruit overall. She is looking to be Pioneer’s first two-time individual champion since her sister Kari won in 2017 and 2019.
Sari Woo, Ann Arbor Skyline
The finalist on the other end of Miller’s dominant victory in the state championship was Woo, who finished her freshman year as the runner-up in No. 1 singles.
Woo is currently the second-highest-rated tennis recruit in the state of Michigan according to the Tennis Recruiting Network and competed in the USTA U-16 championships this summer.
She skyrocketed up the USTA rankings this summer after a strong performance at the USTA U-16 championships, where she defeated Theadora Robman, the third-ranked U-16 tennis recruit in the country.
Woo’s individual success has not translated into team success for Skyline, who is 4-7 on the season, but Woo is set up for another deep run individually in the state tournament.
Elsie Van Wieren, Ann Arbor Pioneer
Van Wieren did not have a typical freshman year. She was one of four singles players for Pioneer that finished the season as an individual state champion, winning the No. 2 singles championship, 6-0, 6-0.
Van Wieren was one of two Pioneer freshmen who won a state championship to help the team become co-champions after her dominant run.
Her freshman season earned her a four star status as a recruit and she is currently listed as the fourth-overall recruit in Michigan by Tennis Recruiting Network.
Van Wieren has maintained her spot at No. 2 singles behind Miller and is undefeated so far on the season. She and the rest of her teammates are looking to repeat their success from last season.
Jared Ramsey is a freelance writer.