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Girls tennis: Centaurus junior Gee-Taylor looking to build off strong sophomore campaign

JEREMY PAPASSO
Centaurus junior Glenna Gee-Taylor figures to lead the way for the Warriors this spring in her third straight season at No. 1 singles.

When Glenna Gee-Taylor surveys her sophomore season, there is little Centaurus’ No. 1 singles player can complain about. Except maybe her opening draw at the Class 4A state tournament.

Right out of the gates, the Warrior had to face down Meagan Monaghan from Denver South, a 2011 state champion and the eventual 2012 state runner up. But having to gut out a brutal opening round did little to dampen Gee-Taylor’s outlook on what she got out of her second trip to state.

Her journey through the brackets might have been testing, but from her perspective they helped her grow as a player.

“My freshman year, all these girls were older than me and I didn’t expect to do much,” Gee-Taylor said. “Last year, I wanted to make sure I could play with them and I did. I was happy with it.”

Another year older and wiser, Gee-Taylor aims to continue fortifying her game at the most competitive level of singles play. But the junior has not set any hard and fast goals for herself in the regular season or at state other than to compete. That might be a high enough aim at No. 1 singles.

While she has learned over the years not to be intimidated about her competition — especially at the state level — the Warrior is also realistic about the caliber of the players she faces. Gee-Taylor does not enter her matches expecting to lose, but in the same breath she does not take winning as a given either.

“The only expectations I have for myself is to go in and fight my hardest and give everything I can to every shot,” she said.

The ace believes she has the tools to make her game more edgy this year, but it is not due to any tweaks in her swing or new shots. Through her club season, Gee-Taylor has worked to become more aggressive in her play and believes her mentality has hardened entering the season.

“I’m trying to come in and take the ball earlier and take time away from my opponent,” she said. “Also keeping up my intensity on court and not giving points away.”

Craig Hoeltgen expects Gee-Taylor’s ramped up game to do more than just put points away at No. 1 singles. The Warriors’ new coach also expects his junior to play a lead role on the team. But from what he has seen already there is little doubt in Hoeltgen’s mind it is a responsibility his top singles player can more than handle.

“She’s a great competitor,” he said. “And she’s worked really hard coming into this season. I’m excited to see what she can accomplish.”

Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.