Greater Spokane League tennis begins anew next Tuesday, but the results will likely be familiar.
Mead, Lewis and Clark and Ferris were comfortably the top three teams in last year’s boys league and nothing suggests much change - unless Gonzaga Prep intrudes.
Two weeks from now, the Panthers and Tigers go head-to-head in what may be the league’s pivotal match.
“LC is going to be really strong,” said Mead coach Bill Wagstaff. “I think we’ll be very tough to beat one through three. After that it will depend upon what we can do in doubles and the fourth singles.”
Addition bolsters Panther squad
League champion and state veteran Ryan Moran, a junior, returns. So does senior Brett Kaiser, a state doubles player last year.
Throw in freshman Tory Gambill, brother of nationally-ranked junior player Jan-Michael, and the defending champions have the makings of another good team.
Behind them, three-year varsity veteran Travis Foster, seniors Casey Schmidt, David Li, juniors Mike Anderson, Jeremy Pfister and sophomore Aaron Mainer are likely doubles players.
Other candidates for spots are juniors Justin Cone, Jacob Condon, sophomore Mike Gimness or freshman Matias Li.
“Once you get to the end of season playoffs,” said Wagstaff, “that’s where the horsepower on top matters. We should be strong.”
Gonzaga expects to contend
Gonzaga Prep’s boys tennis coach Sid Wang has seen enough to predict his team will complicate the GSL tennis standings.
Mead and LC are favored, but after losing just three players from its fourth-place team a season ago, don’t count the Bullpups out.
“I think we should do extremely well,” Wang said.
North Side resident Adam Witt, just a freshman, is expected to challenge his junior brother, Luke, for the team’s top singles spots.
Seniors also from the North Side - Tyler Ham, Mike Hachhuber, and junior Sean Power - help round out the team’s doubles line-up. Back are sophomore Riggs Kubiak and senior Tom Pearson, who were number two and three singles players last year.
NC plans to hold the fort
Last year, North Central was part of a three-way, fourth place league tie with a 4-4 record.
Coach Mike Campbell said his team will fare comparably.
“We could go anywhere from 3-5 to 5-3,” he said.
Returning are his top-two players from last year, senior Josh Stowell and junior Peter Lattin. Also back is senior team captain Brian Thatcher.
Four freshmen from last year moved away, but new players will help keep the Indians in the middle of the GSL.
Included are sophomore Jim Schibel, coach’s son Matt Campbell and Justin Inman.
Other varsity prospects include six freshmen, likely singles player James Lattin, Peter’s brother, Matt Morgan, Dallas Forsythe, brothers Carl and Bill Seegers and Bruce Proulx.
Untested players join Rogers vets
Several players return for the Pirates, including singles players Clint Taxter, a sophomore, Chris Fluaitt, a senior, and senior doubles players Luke Anderson and Dan Buster.
They’ll be joined by a host of newcomers, including several members of coach Rick Mergenthaler’s basketball team.
“We’ve got a lot of kids who are untested, but our turnout is more than we’ve had in recent years,” Mergenthaler said. Included is first-year junior Harley Highfill, freshman Bryce Lee, sophomore Sam Dempsey, Ben Toombs, Jeremy Davenport and Eric Owens.
“We’ll try to be a little more competitive,” said Mergenthaler.
New coach at Shadle
Shadle Park has a new coach but virtually its entire team back.
Tom McGirk has replaced John Gant at the Highlander helm. McGirk was unable to be reached for comment.
Among the potential returnees for the team were top-eight district singles placer John Cave, a senior, and sophomore district singles player Brian Herman.
In addition, seniors Chris Cael, Ryan Herman, Justin Waneless, Len Flett, Ryan Henderson and junior Grant Bursell, all played in the district doubles tournament last year.