Jamie Testwuide is feeling more and more at home at Madison’s Nielsen Tennis Stadium.
Ditto for Audra Hoffmann.
Testwuide, a senior at Sheboygan North, is making her third straight appearance today in the WIAA Division 1 Girls Tennis Tournament. Hoffmann, from Kohler, is making her second appearance in Division 2 — no small feat for a sophomore.
“If she’s playing as well as she’s capable of playing, she could make it several rounds (this week),” Blue Bombers tennis coach Wendy Tauscheck said Wednesday night, just a few days after Hoffmann grabbed a fourth-place finish at sectionals for a second consecutive trip to State.
“She’s worked hard,” Tauscheck said. “She’s very excited about going back.”
Hoffmann, who has amassed a 16-9 singles record this year, and Testwuide aren’t the only one making a bee-line for Madison. Eight local girls — three from Sheboygan North, three from Plymouth and two from Kohler — are scheduled to kick off their state tournament bids today. A few, like Hoffmann and Testwuide, are making return runs at a title, while others are getting their first taste of state tournament play. All hope to stay alive through Saturday, when the WIAA will host championship matches.
Testwuide’s doubles partner, Connor Dlugopolski, also a senior, has become familiar at the University of Wisconsin’s Nielsen tennis courts. This marks Dlugopolski’s second straight trip to State.
“I expect a couple wins out of them at State,” North coach Cathy Pfarrer said Wednesday of her doubles players, who have gone 14-6 so far this year. “I think that they could surprise some teams.”
Golden Raiders junior Lindsey Gosse is making her second straight singles appearance in Madison after she earned a special qualifier spot last year. She got an automatic berth this year after compiling a 16-7 record and taking second place at sectionals.
“The atmosphere at this event is just electric,” Plymouth tennis coach Tom Pederson said in a recent statement, noting he’s “so proud and excited” for his three athletes — juniors Elizabeth Raeder and Beth Brisson and senior Sophia Kiela — who earned special qualifier spots in this week’s bracket.
“It is every tennis player’s dream to play at the Nielsen Center in the State Tennis Tournament,” Pederson said.
Raeder carries a 17-7 record into the tournament’s singles bracket in her first trip to State since 2010, when she qualified as a freshman. Doubles partners Brisson and Kiela, both newcomers to State, also have gone 17-7 together this year.
Kohler junior Elyse Gutschow will accompany Hoffmann to Madison today in her first-ever State appearance. Gutschow went 20-6 this year and earned a special qualifier berth in Division 2 singles.
“She’s a feisty player,” Tauscheck said of Gutschow, noting the junior is the type of player who “sticks to the match as long as she has to to frustrate her opponent.”
Asked if Hoffmann might someday be a state champion-caliber player, Tauscheck said she thinks she has what it takes to be “definitely a state medalist.”
“I know she enjoys working hard on her game all year round,” Tauscheck said. “… I think she knows what she has to do to compete at that level.”