Kenzie Arquette seeks to follow in Mady’s footsteps

J. Patrick Eaken

Clay tennis coach Walt Ralph is in his 47th season at the helm, covering boys and girls tennis over 24 years. He has been a head prep tennis coach nowhere else.
Last year, the Eagles were 10-8 overall and 3-4 in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference, but he has eight returning letter winners this year, bringing the team depth and experience.
In the TRAC, no public school has ever won a league championship in girls tennis. Notre Dame Academy has won five titles, Central Catholic three, and St. Ursula one, and Ralph says the league is “always tough.”
In the final team standings, Clay finished fifth with 22 points, placing behind Notre Dame (38), Central (37), St. Ursula (37) and Findlay (23) and ahead of Fremont Ross (15), Whitmer (9) and Lima Senior (6).
Clay has qualified players to state, however, including two players who advanced in singles over the past two years. This year Ralph says his girls team has “some experience competing at a high level” after players qualified for districts last year.
Returning this year are first singles player Kenzie Arquette and the first doubles team of Macy Burgess and Lauren Mahler. Arquette was second team All-TRAC last year and Burgess-Mahler were honorable mention. Kenzie’s sister, Mady Arquette, qualified for the Division I state meet in 2018 as a senior.
Ralph says Kenzie Arquette “has looked vastly improved during the preseason” and another player, Allie LaPlante, is a junior likely to play third singles.
Arquette placed fifth in the TRAC first singles last year, defeating Ross’ Vivyanna Esquivel 6-2, 6-4 in the second consolation final. Burgess placed fifth in second singles, defeating Ross’ Alexis Huff 7-6 (6-3), 6-1 in the consolation final. Mahler was one-half of a doubles team (Kigar) that placed fifth in first doubles, defeating a Ross team, 6-3, 6-2. LaPlante was part of a doubles team (Franke) that finished third in the league at second doubles, downing a St. Ursula team, 7-5, 6-1.
Ralph says this year, his squad “as always, we will give them our best shot.”
Ralph says his program still “needs to strengthen our program depth at the JV level” and “improve overall athleticism.”


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