Sports

TENNIS PREVIEW: Jefferson shooting for yet another SPSL Central championship

Thomas Jefferson Raiders

Coach: Andrew Buchan (22nd year)

Last year’s record: 10-0 (first in SPSL Central)

Key returners: Sr. Alex Lee; Sr. Richard Ban; Sr. Tyler Hamashima; Jr. Vivek Ramanujan; Jr. Zack Martin; Sr. Abishek Murali; Soph. Cameron Martin.

Key newcomers: Jr. Hakeem Clark; Soph. Donavan Gomez; Jr. Alex Papke; Soph. Michael Ziccarelli; Fr. Alex Chan.

Notable: The Raiders cruised to the SPSL Central championship with an unbeaten record and also won the SPSL Tournament title a season ago.

Jefferson has actually finished undefeated in the SPSL Central for three years in a row and return plenty of talent, once again.

Todd Beamer Titans

Coach: Pat Nam (second year)

Last year’s record: 2-8 (fifth in SPSL Central)

Key returners: Sr. Jimmie Stone; Sr. Jesse Fite; Soph. Ben Arata; Soph. Max Dalrymple.

Key newcomers: Fr. Brad Hoefel; Fr. Charlie Wong; Soph. Alex Han.

Notable: After finishing just 2-8 in the SPSL Central Division, second-year head coach Pat Nam is optimistic about his 2012 team.

“I predict our team to be more competitive than last year,” Nam said. “We’ll at least double our wins from the 2011 season and surprise some teams.”

The Titans will be playing without their top player from the last four years, Joseph Dela Cruz, who graduated. But Beamer has a lot more depth this season.

“Even though we lost one of the state’s top junior players to graduation, we are a deeper and more experienced team than last year, which will translate into more wins,” Nam said.

Federal Way Eagles

Coach: Jerome Collins

Last year’s record: 1-8 (sixth in SPSL Central)

Key returners: Sr. Napoleon Huynh; Sr. Sean Hwang; Sr. Alex Dahl; Jr. Daniel Chung; Jr. Luke Newman.

Key newcomer: Soph. Thomas Hayashi.

Notable: The Eagles got some bad news when defending state champion Mitch Stewart turned out for the Federal Way cross country team instead of tennis. Stewart, who is also one of the best junior players in the country, is concentrating more on national-level tournaments. He is currently playing at the Junior US Open in New York. His first match was scheduled for today.

But the Eagles still have some talent returning, led by seniors Napolean Huynh, Sean Hwang and Alex Dahl. Newcomer Thomas Hayashi will also add some depth.

Decatur Gators

Coach: John Cassens

Last year’s record: 1-9 (fifth in SPSL 3A)

Key returners: Jr. Ken Sheedy; Jr. Steven Kang; Sr. Rob Thomas.

Top newcomers: Sr. J.J. Hegenauer; Soph. Tyler Sheedy; Soph. Mitchell Grant; Sr. Christopher Chang; Soph. Phillip Kim.

Notable: The Gators struggled in the SPSL 3A Division last season, finishing with just one win. But Cassens is optimistic that Decatur can improve this season. The Gators have 21 boys turning out, including a solid group of newcomers.

“Hopefully, we will be a little better than last year,” Cassens said.

 

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