GSL tennis preview
First team – Alex Marcinkowski (GP); Chase Klingel (LC), Peter Ho (CV), Tom Geranios (Ferris); Riley Poppy (GP). Second team – Matt Romano (GP); Dan Steiner (Ferris).
Exploring foreign turf
Gonzaga Prep coach Christian Birrer scheduled an arduous preseason for a reason. The Bullpups have never won a boys GSL team championship. But they’d like to remedy that, which is why he chose to play some of the best teams in state. With state qualifier Marcinkowski – although he’s been injured – and all-GSL Poppy returned and bolstered by Alex Hattamer, who missed last year with injury, the chances are enhanced. “Last year we lost a lot of 4-3 matches, two or three by third-set tiebreaker,” Birrer said. “We were just an inch away last year and that we return everyone suggests we might make up that inch.”
Most are picking the Bullpups to win, with defending champion Ferris, under new coach Chris Jacobson, standing in the way. Jacobson replaces Rob Cummins, who retired from teaching. Geranios returns as the Saxons’ No. 1 and freshman Trevor Fennessey is a solid No. 2. Lewis and Clark, second last year, brings back six players, including Klingel. Mead graduated eight of its varsity 10 but had the best junior varsity and has a foreign exchange student, Santiago Pedraza, vying for a spot. Poor weather has hampered workouts for many teams.
What they’re saying
“I would think the team to beat would be Gonzaga Prep,” Mead Panthers coach Bill Wagstaff said. “Ferris is right up there too, and I don’t think we’ll go down easy.” … LC coach Tobin Phelps echoed him. “I think Gonzaga is the undisputed favorite,” he said. “After that, in no particular order, Mead, Ferris and LC will be decent.” … “We have as good a chance as anyone (with) really strong singles at the top and much more experience,” Birrer said. … Jacobson is looking forward to his first year. “I’m excited to take over,” he said. “A lot of the core team is back. I think we’ll be competitive.”
First team – Lauren Archibald and Caylee Lamm (U-Hi); Hayley Hendrickson and Malea Webb (LC); Leslie Ho (CV); Katijene Stime and Chelsea Motzer (Mead); Second team – Tori Fennessey (Ferris); Lizzie Reiner (GP); Nikki Richardson (CV).
This year’s girls tennis season won’t be the same. The death last summer of highly regarded G-Prep coach Donna Lenseigne casts a pall. “It’s a tremendous loss,” Mead coach Lynn Coleman said. “Donna was a major force in high school tennis. I don’t know how you replace someone like that, who touched so many lives in so many ways. It’s a huge hole.” Ken Plank, with ties to the tennis community and whose children will attend Prep in a few years, replaces her. “I’m taking over a program that’s well established,” he said. “Sixty-two kids signed up for it.”
Last year ended in a rare three-way first-place tie among G-Prep, Mead and University, all with 9-1 records. This year will be a four-way battle with the inclusion of Central Valley. CV and U-Hi return much of their lineups, including CV state top-eight finisher Ho. She is currently recovering from foot surgery. Also back are Mead state veterans Stime and Motzer. U-Hi drops to 3A this year which should bode well for the Titans come postseason. Ferris’ Torry Fennessey is in the singles mix and G-Prep has a strong one-two singles punch.
What they’re saying
“We graduated just two players,” U-Hi Titans coach Julene Osborn said, “and should be really strong this year. I’m not making any guarantees (about a repeat), but am excited for the season.” … Longtime CV coach Stan Chalich brings back all but one from last season, has six third-year varsity players and goes 15 deep. “I have 57 girls out and they have the best work ethic I’ve ever had. Everyone’s important to the team, it’s a heck of a group of kids and they want to win the league.” … Mead coach Coleman said, “I’m cautiously optimistic. We have six players back. My whole thing is what happens on the court speaks for itself and I’m going to let my girls do the speaking.” … G-Prep graduated eight seniors and thus will be junior-oriented with one freshman in the lineup, Plank said. “I like to think we’ll be in the mix,” he said, adding that he wished he had more experience in other positions.
|Boys predicted finish||4. Mead||8. University|
|1. Gonzaga Prep||5. Central Valley||9. Shadle Park|
|2. Ferris||6. Mt. Spokane||10. Rogers|
|3. Lewis and Clark||7. North Central|
|Girls Predicted Finish||4. Gonzaga Prep||8. North Central|
|1. Mead||5. Ferris||9. Shadle Park|
|2. University||6. Lewis and Clark||10. Rogers|
|3. Central Valley||7. Mt. Spokane|