Senior Weston Herbert has witnessed a change in the way people view the Gahanna Lincoln High School boys tennis team.

Senior Weston Herbert has witnessed a change in the way people view the Gahanna Lincoln High School boys tennis team.

After winning a league title for the first time in 27 years last season, the Lions finished 14-1 overall. They repeated as league champions, going 7-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division dual matches and finishing the league tournament on May 8 with 67 points, edging runner-up Pickerington Central (6-1, 58) for the title.

Pickerington North finished third (5-2, 43) in the league, followed by Grove City (4-3, 25), Reynoldsburg (2-5, 24), Newark (2-5, 20), Lancaster (2-5, 17) and Groveport (0-7, 14).

"We're definitely getting a lot more attention than we used to," Herbert said. "People don't take us for granted like they used to. When people think about the heavy hitters, I think that they're putting Gahanna in there."

The Lions ended their season at the Division I district tournament last Friday at Elysium Tennis Center. Neither junior Jesse Shivener in singles nor the doubles team of sophomore Stephen Cheng and freshman Canyon Teague advanced to the state tournament Friday and Saturday at Ohio State's Stickney Center.

Shivener defeated Upper Arlington's Stefan Treglia 7-5, 6-4 in the first round before losing a state-qualifying match to Olentangy Liberty's Arren Carter 6-1, 6-2. Cheng and Teague beat Liberty's Tyler Gibbons and Jon McMahan 6-4, 6-1 in a first-round match before losing a qualifying match to New Albany's Riyad Bennoui and John Hendrix 6-0, 4-6, 6-3.

Those three helped comprise a Gahanna team that is expected to return all but two seniors in Herbert and Demetrius Stevenson. The list of returnees includes sophomores Dan Emoff and Sam Raybuck.

During the regular season, Shivener played first singles, Teague played second singles and Cheng played third singles. Herbert played first doubles with Emoff and Raybuck and Stevenson played second doubles.

"You had a little bit of everything with every grade level on our team," Herbert said. "It's definitely a good thing because those guys have so much to look forward to because they're so young."

One of the season highlights for the Lions was winning all three singles courts in the OCC-Ohio tournament. For Shivener and Cheng, it marked their second league titles. Cheng played second singles last year, but moved to third singles on Teague's arrival.

Also at the league tournament, both of the doubles teams finished second.

"We set out to win the OCC, which was one of a couple of our goals," said first-year coach Chris Schwinnen, whose team fell short of ending its five-year drought without a state qualifier. "Our kids were really thrilled about getting another (league title). We ended up getting beat by Dublin Jerome (5-0 in an OTCA quarterfinal on May 10). We were right there in pretty much every match."

Before losing to Jerome, the Lions beat Westerville South 5-0 in the second round of the OTCA tournament on April 28 after having a first-round bye.


At a glance

•Record: 14-1 overall, 7-0 (first) in OCC-Ohio •Seniors lost: Weston Herbert and Demetrius Stevenson •Key returnees: Stephen Cheng, Jesse Shivener and Canyon Teague