Knights net big returns

Tom Batters
Richwoods senior tennis player Chase Klaus finished ninth in the state tournament last year.

The Richwoods tennis team will travel all over the state this season in order to face some of the state’s top players.

Richwoods senior Chase Klaus, who has beaten many of those players, said the trips will give the team valuable experience come State tournament time.

“It can be intimidating to go up against some of the top players from Chicago,” said Klaus, who finished ninth in the state last year (he lost to state champion Evan King of Chicago Payton). “If we face them early on, we will be more ready to face them later in the year when it counts.”

Klaus and fellow seniors Roger Clayton, Azeem Rehman and David Zagardo will lead the Knights as they defend their Mid-State 6 Conference title.

Co-coaches Patti Shaw and Pat Lowder said another conference title and success in the postseason are attainable goals.

“We’re one of the better teams in the area,” Lowder said. “I can see us sending six players to State, and I can see the team finishing in the top 15 in the state.”

Richwoods finished 18th in the state last year, and the coaches are looking to improve on that.

Shaw said she expects a lot from the seniors, especially Klaus.

“He’s an impressive athlete, and person,” she said. “He is very talented and he puts in a lot of work. He can beat anybody on any given day.”

Richwoods opened its season with home losses to Galesburg and Springfield on March 22.

Klaus won both his singles matches and he teamed with Rehman to win in doubles. Rehman also won his singles match against Springfield.