Tennis players warming up for season


Sports editor

Jefferson High School*’s boys tennis team won its third consecutive South Puget Sound League title last season and its sixth title in the past eight years. But the Raiders graduated nine letterwinnners who helped win those past three titles.

*“TJ will find it extremely difficult to four-peat,*” Jefferson coach Andrew Buchan said.

The team to beat in the SPSL South this season is Emerald Ridge, which returns junior Greg Ferry, who was a sixth-place finisher at state last year. Jefferson, Decatur, Curtis, Puyallup will also finish toward the top of the league.

If Jefferson is to repeat its championship this year, the team*’s success will depend largely players without much varsity experience. The SPSL season starts Tuesday.

Strong returners for the Raiders include senior Kyle Gotchy and junior Todd Schultz. Schultz is the most experienced varsity player with a 7-2 career record in league. Gotchy was 5-3 in league last year.

Gotchy will team up with senior Cole Wilson in the No. 1 doubles spot. Schultz will join senior Pat Yu as the No. 2 doubles team.

The singles slots will be occupied by a pair of top newcomers. Junior Stuart Michnick will play at No. 1 singles and senior Konrad Miernowski at No. 2.

A battle for a spot on Jefferson*’s third doubles team is between German exchange student Paul Kunze, ninth-grader Colin Okazaki, sophomores Kenny Fritchy and Shane Odenwalder and junior Derek Idler.

Decatur, which finished third last season with a 10-4 record, returns top singles player Brandon Abang. Abang is the only All-City player last season who was not a senior. Experienced senior Tony Campbell also is back for the Gators and coach Steve Escame, who is in his 31st year coaching high school tennis.

Joining them is talented ninth-grader Chris Rice, who is expected to make an impact on the league this season and could advance to post-season play.

Federal Way is looking to improve on last season*’s 2-11 record. Strong returners from last year*’s team include senior Kevin Riley, senior Joe Blackner, junior David Lee, junior Kyle Sahagun, senior Don Nguyen and sophomore Eric Ryan.

Sophomore Nick Reiersgard is new talent on the team and should contribute.

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