Senior class looks to lead I-L boys' tennis
|Senior Teddy Willey, who was a major contributor for the Inter-Lakes Nordic ski team this winter, will be one of the Lakers’ top tennis players. File Photo. (click for larger version)|
April 04, 2011MEREDITH – It's a bit of a new look in Meredith this spring, as the Inter-Lakes boys' tennis team has five seniors leading the way, despite losing its top four players from last season.
Leo Kerr, Harry Huston and Ryan Chappuis all graduated, while senior Austin Hart decided not to go out for the team. All four were key cogs during last year's run to the Class M-S final, where the Lakers fell to Gilford.
"We had a pretty solid group of kids the last two years and because of that, and some solid depth, we had a couple pretty successful seasons," said veteran coach Bill West.
Kerr's departure will be a tough one for I-L to fill, as the former first singles player got the ball rolling from the top spot.
"He really played a good, solid game of tennis," West said. "He could hit with almost anyone in our division and he was a reliable competitor at singles and doubles. If he could win both points, we only needed three more to win the match. That was a nice luxury to have."
Stepping into the top spot will be senior Aaron Ingari, who played number five singles last year. Classmate Teddy Willey will be right behind at number two, and the duo will be counted on to set the table each match.
"They're both four-year veterans but it's going to be a big challenge for them playing one and two," said West. "I would love to have them playing this year at three and four, I think they'd be extremely competitive against almost everybody in our division. But it's going to be tough at one and two. They're going to have to get out there and fight for every point."
Seniors Sven Gustafson, Galen Muskat and Jake Johnson look primed for the 3-4-5 singles slots, with sophomore Reese Chappuis having the inside track on the number six spot.
"We don't have a lot of singles and doubles experience at the high school level with some of the guys," said West. "We're almost starting with a whole new fresh group of guys. It's very different compared to the experienced group of the last couple of years."
Sophomore John Connell, junior Ben Ainsworth, sophomore Ryan Boquist and sophomore Trevor Giroux are next in line for the Lakers, as West will try and get them ready to compete in matches this year and next.
"That group just started really playing last year so they have a little ways to go," the coach said. "They're trying to raise their tennis skills and challenge my starting six to see if they can work into any positions. Since my top five guys are seniors, we're going to be needing this group in the near future."
Freshman Mason Peverly is someone to look out for as well, as he comes from a tennis family.
"I anticipate he may challenge his way into the mix as the season goes on," West explained. "It's too early to tell but I think he's hit the tennis ball well. His mom (Kathy) was the girls' coach here before and his sister (Ally) was the number one singles player for the girls' team the last couple of years. I expect him to start to work his way up the ladder and possibly become one of the starting six."
Junior Tanner Robinson and freshman Jackson Robinson are also a part of the group that West hopes will develop as the year progresses.
"We haven't had a chance to do much so far," said West of being inside to start the year. "We were down at Gilford Hills for two visits in the first couple weeks of practice but 14 or 15 kids on two courts is tough. Right now, no one has really found their groove. We're trying to become consistent and work the kinks out of their game."