The best team in Platte County history leaves a standard for all future teams to chase, starting this season.
In 2016, the Pirates advanced to the Class 2 District 16 championship dual and sent an individual entry to Class 2 Sectional 8 for a second straight year. Four-year contributors Rachel Valentine (No. 1), Madalyn Ivy (No. 2) and Stephanie Laures (No. 4) capped their careers with a historic season in the program’s ninth year.
In addition, senior Lauren Laderoute played No. 5, leaving Platte County with four big spots to fill.
“I feel like a lot of people have been working hard over the summer to do better, and you can obviously see that,” said junior Hannah Valentine, the likely new No. 1 singles player. “Even though we lost some really good players, some new ones are coming in to help out the team.
“We always have that standard that we could be that good again.”
Hannah Valentine and Ivy advanced to Sectional 8 play in doubles but lost the state qualifying match.
Platte County still hasn’t produced an individual qualifier for the Class 2 Missouri State Tennis Championships, but the Pirates nearly advanced there as a team with the deepest lineup coach Zach Keith has ever fielded. Hannah Valentine played No. 3 and went 15-0 in singles, coming off of a 23-2 freshman season.
Ivy and Hannah Valentine also became the No. 1 doubles team last year for Platte County, giving the experienced junior confidence to meet the challenge of playing at the top.
“I know it’s going to make me better,” she said.
In addition to Hannah Valentine, junior Mikayla Landers played No. 6 last year and went a combined 21-14 in singles and doubles play. Brittany Alvarado, a senior, played No. 6 as a sophomore and won the Suburban Conference Blue Division junior varsity singles tournament a year ago.
“We’ll be looking for (Alvarado) to provide a great deal of senior leadership this season,” Keith said. “ If Brittany can be a key contributor, our team is going to be much better off.”
Crystal Billings and Lauryn Klein — both juniors — also received cameos at the varsity level last season, while Keith expects senior Grace Lewis and sophomore Jaycie Call to compete for spots in the lineup. The less experienced group inherits a streak of five straight Blue Division team titles to try and maintain.
Platte County went 10-2 in duals last season and swept the Blue Division tournament individual titles.