The Reynoldsburg High School boys tennis team will have to rebuild its singles lineup if it is going to improve on its 11-8 finish last season.
The Reynoldsburg High School boys tennis team will have to rebuild its singles lineup if it is going to improve on its 11-8 finish last season. The Raiders lost four graduates, including Josh Rich, David Heedy and Ben Leech who played first, second and third singles, respectively.
"The biggest thing right now is our lack of experience in singles," said coach Mark Mathias, whose team visits Hilliard Darby today. "Last year we were a very veteran team. This year we have a lot of question marks. We need to find players to step into the singles lineup."
Junior Austin Dresbach, who played second doubles last year, is currently a front-runner to take over the first-singles slot.
Dresbach played four days a week in the winter and every day during the summer to get ready for the jump.
"There is a huge difference between the two positions," Dresbach said. "There was usually pretty solid competition at second doubles, but no matter what team you are playing, you're going to face someone who is extremely talented at first singles."
The Raiders also return senior Brandon Totman, junior Ryne Kitchen and sophomore Adam Edwards, who all primarily played doubles last season.
Sophomores Sai Korada and Spencer Kirksey, and freshmen Clay Franke, Billy Li, Brandon Person and Kyle O'Brien are looking to make an impact on the team
"We're going to have accelerate the learning curve," Mathias said. "There's a lot more teaching with the sophomores and freshmen. There's a lot of pressure with playing at a higher level of tennis and we'll have to see how they step up without being intimidated."
For the third time in the last four years, Reynoldsburg didn't have anyone reach district last season. Kitchen won two three-set matches in the sectional at Hilliard Darby before losing to Olentangy Liberty's Arren Carter.
Reynoldsburg placed fourth in the OCC-Ohio Division last year with a 4-3 record and 39 points. Gahanna won its first league championship since 1981, going 7-0 and scoring 63 points.
Pickerington North (53), Pickerington Central (53), the Raiders, Newark (26), Grove City (18), Lancaster (12) and Groveport (5) rounded out the standings.
Rich was the only Reynoldsburg player to reach the finals of the league tournament, placing second after losing to Gahanna's Jesse Shivener 7-6, 6-2. Graduate Chris Chang and Totman finished third at first doubles. Leech (third singles), and Dresbach and Edwards (second doubles) were fourth.
"The OCC-Ohio will be pretty tough," Dresbach said. "We'd like to win the OCC, but Gahanna is definitely the team to beat. They only lost one player from their singles lineup. You can say the same thing about Pickerington North and Pickerington Central. They both should have some really good players back."
At a glance
•Coach: Mark Mathias, 28th season
•Next match: Today at Hilliard Darby
•Key players: Austin Dresbach, Adam Edwards, Ryne Kitchen and Brandon Totman
*March 31 at Grove City
April 1 at Hilliard Darby
April 5 vs. Franklin Heights
*April 6 vs. Newark
April 12 at Hamilton Township
*April 13 vs. Pickerington North
April 15 at Hilliard Bradley
April 19 vs. Granville
*April 20 at Lancaster
April 21 vs. Big Walnut
*April 22 at Groveport
*April 27 vs. Gahanna
April 28 at Fisher Catholic
*May 4 at Pickerington Central
May 8 at OCC-Ohio tournament
May 11 at Dublin Scioto
May 12 vs. Olentangy Orange