“I don’t want to see this tennis program die,” Brady said in an interview in July.
Brady elected to return to coach the program after leaving the team in 2010 following his team’s appearance in the Concord Regional. With numbers dwindling and yet another coaching vacancy following the loss to Warsaw in the 2011 sectional tournament, Brady felt compelled to return to the tennis complex for the fourth time. Brady began coaching at Wawasee in 1986, then returned in 2001 and again in 2007. In those 13 years, he has won 101 matches and led the Warriors to sectional title in 1990 and 2010, the first saw Wawasee advance all the way to the semi-state finals.
“I want to keep the kids interested in tennis, start building numbers,” Brady said. “Our goal is to always play to win the sectional and we had a good team when we did that a couple years ago. I want to get back to that level again.”
It will take more than hope to get Wawasee to prominence again, with just one senior and four returners. Isaac Ridgon is the elder statesman, playing his fourth year of tennis in Syracuse. Three juniors in Kyler Love, Dylan Dunithan and Dylan Houser all have tennis experience as does Todd Hauser. Newcomers Chase Myers, Doug Hapner, Leonard Kline and Rozen Kunkle fill out the remainder of the roster.
Wawasee will open with Manchester and Lakeland, but then jump right into the Northern Lakes Conference fire with a trip to Plymouth Thursday.
“Our conference is a lot stronger than some of the surrounding schools,” Brady stated. “It’s good to start our season with some of the non-conference teams and work into the conference. I think that will help our kids understand what they need to work on.”
Tigers Return Talented Group
Coach Rick Orban welcomes back an experienced and talented core of players for his Warsaw Community High School squad this season.
The Tigers, who finished 8-6 overall and 5-2 in the NLC in 2011, are led by its No. 1 doubles team of AJ Herendeen and Sam Rice. Senior Herendeen and sophomore Rice advanced to the individual regional finals a year ago.
Warsaw, which lost 3-2 to Columbia City in the sectional last season, have the trio of juniors Kyle Wettschurak and Evan Miller and senior Alek Jansen competing for the singles positions. Wettschurak and Miller both played singles a year ago, while Jansen played at No. 2 doubles.
Orban has a handful of players competing to play at No. 2 doubles. The list includes seniors Caleb Snyder and Connor Singrey, juniors Will Petro and Nikos Schlitt and sophomore Nic Jansen. Freshman Christopher Herendeen is a key addition this fall for the Tigers.
Warsaw graduated just one player from its varsity lineup last year in No. 3 singles player Keaton Joyner.
Triton Looks To Continue Success
The return of all three singles players from a year ago has hopes high at Triton.
The Trojans went 10-4 in 2011 and won the Northern State Conference tournament for the first time.
Coach Allen Peckham welcomes back his singles lineup of seniors Jeff Ross (No. 1) and Keith Kauffman (No. 2) and junior Lucas Shafer (No. 3). Peckham noted that his lineup could fluctuate with Ross probably playing No. 1 and Kauffman and Shafer possibly teaming to play doubles this fall.
Triton graduated all four of its doubles players from 2011. Other players in the mix for varsity spots this year include junior Dean Howdeshell and sophomore Jared Fisher.
“We have enough weapons to have another good season,” said coach Peckham. “It’s not going to be easy, but I expect us to be in the running for the NSC title.”
Whitko Looks To Improve
The Wildcats have five players back from last season and hope to improve on a 1-10 mark.
Whitko returns junior Tyler Baugher, who played No. 1 singles in 2011. They also welcome back junior Seth Patrick and Blake Castle, who played No. 1 doubles last season, and senior Tyler Pottenger, who played No. 2 doubles. Sophomore Cole Bechtold also returns after playing No. 2 doubles and JV a year ago.
“We are looking pretty good in practice,” said Whitko coach Kory Mettler. “We just need to play like that in matches. Some of our goals are to do better in conference play and to get our record to .500.”
Mettler also lists four freshmen newcomers who could contribute this season in Riley Anderson, Garrett Smiley, Nick Crossen and Reed Brace.