Kokomo has finished second in the North Central Conference for two straight years. Last year, the Kats went 6-1, falling only to Marion, which won the championship.
“I think Marion will be head and shoulders above anyone else,” Flanary said. “Logansport will look strong. Muncie Central will also be strong, but I think it’s Marion’s conference to lose.”
The Kats open Monday at Plymouth.
Western (12-3 overall, 6-1 MIC in 2012) is the only Howard County team that had a coaching change. Co-coaches Andrew Miller and Kristine Miller will lead the squad this year. Andrew coached Eastern boys team two years ago and Kristine is the girls tennis coach at Northwestern.
Senior Judson Quinn is back at No. 1 singles for the Panthers.
“Quinn has had an outstanding week of practice,” Andrew Miller said. “He will have a great year. Quinn also won the 18-year-old singles and was part of the championship doubles team at the Howard County Tennis Tournament.”
The rest of Western’s 2012 team consisted of seniors. Sophomores Brody Worl and Justin Groothuis and junior Vito Pulverenti lead the group of varsity newcomers.
“They will be varsity players for sure,” Andrew Miller said. “We also have eight freshmen and all of them will be in the mix, but we are wide open at this point.
“We don’t have any goals in terms of wins and losses,” he added. “We want to improve as a young team. This is a team that can do very good down the road by getting solid in fundamentals. We are young, and every team will be more experienced.”
Eight of the 13 players on Western’s roster are freshmen.
“It should be fun and competitive in the conference. Everyone has a chance to be successful,” Andrew Miller said . “Kokomo is always the [sectional] favorite because of the size of the school and the strength of the coach. All five other schools will be competing with them.”