BOYS TENNIS PREVIEW: TJ Raiders plan to dominate this year

Thomas Jefferson High School
Thomas Jefferson High School's Zach Martin (pictured) and Alex Papke defeated Federal Way High School's Jon Wrigley and Sam Ward in a doubles tennis match 6-0, 6-0 on Sept. 10 at TJHS. Overall, Thomas Jefferson defeated Federal Way 5-0.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs/Federal Way Mirror

Since taking over the Thomas Jefferson High School program 23 years ago, head coach Andrew Buchan has compiled a record of 235-42.

Last year, the Raiders finished 10-0 in the SPSL Central, won the West Central District title and finished third at state. The program's last loss in the SPSL came in 2008, a streak of 45 consecutive matches.

"We have three goals this year: win the SPSL, win WCD, win state," Buchan said. "We have the talent and experience to make a run and will definitely give it our best effort. Winning state is uncharted territory for TJ tennis, but we are encouraged by last year’s finish at state and the veteran returners."

Alex Chan returns for his sophomore year after finishing fifth at state last year. The four players who finished ahead of Chan are not returning to the court this season.

Also back will be state veterans Cameron Martin and his older brother, Zach Martin, who finished fourth in doubles' action at state. Also back are seniors Hakeem Clark and Vivek Ramanujan, who will play doubles.

Rounding out the varsity roster will be juniors Donavon Gomez and Michael Ziccarelli.

"TJ’s greatest strength this year are the state veterans," Buchan said. "Our weakness is our depth. Although the top eight are very solid, the players below No. 3 doubles lack match experience."

The Raiders also added another title last year when they won the Class 4A State Academic championship with a grade-point average of over 3.8.

However, the biggest story of the boys tennis season doesn't come from Jefferson, but Federal Way. Eagles senior Mitch Stewart will not be defending his state singles championship this year. Stewart chose not to turn out for the tennis team.

Stewart won his second consecutive Class 4A singles championship last spring at the Columbia Basin Racquet Club in Richland.

Stewart dominated the competition by not losing a set in his four matches and beating Gonzaga Prep's Alex Marchinkowski in the championship match, 6-2, 6-1. The win also completed Stewart's second unbeaten season in a row. His only loss came in the state title match during his freshman season.

The Eagles, however, do return seniors Daniel Chung and Luke Newman, along with juniors Thomas Hayashi and Yun Lee, from a team that finished 1-9 in the SPSL Central.

Beamer should improve on its 3-7 record from a season ago under the direction of Pat Nam. The Titans bring back junior Max Dalrymple, Ken Chambers and Ben Arata, along with sophomores Brad Hoefel and Charlie Wong.

The Decatur Gators, under the direction of John Cassens, hope to keep the momentum going that they had during the latter part of last season. After starting the SPSL 3A season with an 0-7 record, the Gators won their last three matches, including a win over Peninsula, which knocked them out of the league championship.

Box scores

For the latest SPSL boys tennis box scores, visit


Thomas Jefferson Raiders

Coach: Andrew Buchan (23rd year)

Last year's record: 10-0 (First in SPSL Central)

Key returners: Sr. Vivek Ramanujan; Sr. Zach Martin; Jr. Cameron Martin; Soph. Alex Chan; Sr. Hakeem Clark; Sr. Alex Papke.

Top newcomers: Jr. Donavan Gomez; Jr. Michael Ziccarelli.

Key losses: Alex Lee, Richard Ban, Tyler Hamashima, Abishek Murali.

Federal Way Eagles

Coach: Jerome Collins

Last year's record: 1-9 (sixth in SPSL Central)

Key returners: Sr. Daniel Chung; Sr. Luke Newman; Jr. Thomas Hayashi; Jr. Yun Lee.

Top newcomers: None listed

Key losses: Mitch Stewart (not turning out); Alex Lewis; Napoleon Huyhn; Sean Hwang; Alex Dahl.

Todd Beamer Titans

Coach: Pat Nam

Last year's record: 3-7 (fifth in SPSL Central)

Key returners: Jr. Max Dalrymple; Jr. Ken Chambers; Jr. Ben Arata; Soph. Brad Hoefel; Soph. Charlie Wong.

Top newcomers: None listed

Key losses: Jimmie Stone, Jesse Fite.

Decatur Gators

Coach: John Cassens

Last year's record: 3-7 (fourth in SPSL 3A)

Key returners: Sr. Ken Sheedy; Jr. Tyler Sheedy.

Top newcomers: None listed

Key losses: None listed


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