April 04, 2009
CHS depends on returning talent
There will be a lot of familiar faces around when the Cortland High tennis team opens its season by visiting East Syracuse-Minoa Monday afternoon.
A total of 15 players return from last year’s squad that finished 6-8 in the OHSL Freedom Division and 8-9 overall. The Purple Tigers will be headed up by senior Colin Heasley, who was fourth in second singles at the Class B sectionals last season. Heasley finished 5-9 in singles and 3-5 in doubles, while classmate Gerritt Wissink was 3-6 at third singles.
The returning juniors are Kachi Anumonwo (5-5 at third singles while also seeing some doubles duty), Mike Hall (doubles), Randy Lin (6-6 in doubles, including 6-4 with Hall at third doubles), David Russell, Sean Steve, Kyle Tomlinson and Kelley Thomsen. Also back are sophomores Jacob Klinger (5-9 at second singles), Josh Barber, Kyle Fussner, Tanner Jones, Jack O’Donnell and James Williams.
Heasley, Wissink, Hall and Klinger are this year’s captains.
Lost to graduation were Luka Starmer (4-7 first singles, 1-5 doubles), Levi Walrath (7-3 at fourth singles, 4-5 doubles), Evan Henkel and Ryan Reagan. The latter two were 10-7 at second doubles.
New to the varsity level this season are senior John Speicher, junior David Camp, sophomores Greg Masler and Dan Wavle and freshmen Alex Clark, Kyle Davis, Ethan Wingenbach and Mike Morgan.
In looking forward to the season and what the keys to his team’s success would be, Purple Tigers coach Bob Walrath, now in his 23rd season at the helm, said: “We’re not terribly deep and don’t have strength at all the positions, so we have to manage the time conflicts outside our practices and matches. We can’t afford to lose two, three or four players at a time. I also hope that the newer players will work hard in and out of practice to keep improving.
“Klinger and Heasley can hold their own, and are going to be competitive. And the kids that are developing are coachable, and willing workers. A lot of doubles slots will be open; again, we have some very inexperienced players and aren’t strong enough to put four of our top players in singles a and win all four.”
As for his opening-day starting lineup, Walrath said that Klinger will be at first singles and Heasley at second singles, with Williams, O’Donnell and Jones in the mix for the third and fourth singles spots. Anumonwo and Hall will ht the first doubles tandem, Lin and Thomsen will play second doubles and third doubles will come from a group that includes Wissink, Fussner, Russell, Tomlinson, Steve and Barber.
“We want to be competitive, and hope that each player will leave practice each day feeling like he’s learned something new,” Walrath said. “We want the kids to stay encouraged and keep things in perspective as to where they are in terms of development.
“In the league, we’re going to be looking up at a lot of teams. Jamesville-DeWitt has its whole team back plus a top player returning after a year as an exchange student. Fulton and East Syracuse-Minoa should be right up there.”
April 6- at East Syracuse-Minoa, 4:30; 8- FULTON, 4:30; 9- *MARCELLUS, 4:30; 20- *at Liverpool, 4:30; 22- at Mexico, 4:30; 24- CHITTENANGO, 4:30; 27- at Fowler, 4:30; 29- at Jamesville-DeWitt, 4:30.
May 1- EAST SYRACUSE-MINOA, 4:45; 4- at Fulton, 4:30; 7- MEXICO, 4:30; 11- at Chittenango, 4:30; 13- FOWLER, 4:00; 14- JAMESVILLE-DEWITT, 4:15.
*- Non-league matches
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