Three freshmen on the Upper Arlington High School boys tennis team are proving that age is just a number.

Three freshmen on the Upper Arlington High School boys tennis team are proving that age is just a number.

Even though Tyler Holsopple, Brian Lee and Anthony Yang usually face opponents who are two or three years older than they are, they entered the week with a combined record of 21-0.

"Age doesn't make much of a difference," Yang said. "It's about how good you are and not about how old you are."

With the help of the three freshmen, the Golden Bears were 12-0 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Hilliard Davidson on April 24.

Through 12 matches, Yang was 8-0 overall, including 5-0 at third singles. Holsopple also was 8-0 overall, including 5-0 at second doubles, and Brian Lee was 5-0 overall, having played all of his matches at first doubles.

Coach Amos Allison noticed there was something special about Holsopple, Lee and Yang in the preseason during challenge matches.

"The biggest thing is they accept coaching," Allison said. "They look forward to what (assistant coach Jim) Flower and I have to show them. They don't think they know it all. They want to make that kind of improvement so they get on the court."

It is not uncommon for the Bears to have one or two freshmen among their top 10 players. But in the last 10 years, they have had only three players – junior Stu Little in 2010, 2011 graduate Billy Weldon in 2008 and 2005 graduate Sumanth Chittajallu in 2002 – advance to the Division I state tournament as a freshman. Little and Weldon won the 2010 state title in doubles with a 6-4, 6-1 win over New Albany's John Hendrix and Riyad Bennoui.

According to Allison, Holsopple, Lee and Yang were among 40 players who competed for the varsity spots that opened as a result of the graduation of three players.

"There were so many returning B players and so many upperclassmen who wanted those slots on the A team," said Allison, who cut 10 players from tryouts. "I don't think they were counting on going through those three freshmen, but Brian, Tyler and Anthony just went out there and took care of business."

"The 10 people they cut could play varsity on most of the teams we play," Yang said. "I was so nervous because you have to play all the best players on the team."

After making varsity, Holsopple, Lee and Yang had to fight for playing time. Yang got his first chance to play first singles on April 17, defeating Westland's Dylan Clanin 6-1, 6-1 in a 5-0 league win.

The biggest competition, however, may still be in front of Holsopple, Lee and Yang, as the Allison is trying to figure out his lineup for the postseason next month.

"They're neck and neck right now, and I told them the other day they're going to be upset by the end of the year, because it is possible that one, two or maybe all three of them are going to get left out (of the postseason lineup)," Allison said.

"With as competitive as they are, they're going to make it very tough decision for me."

"All three of us are best friends," Yang said.

"We have to go out at each other as hard you can. You can't let down because you're playing a friend. During a challenge match, you're not friends anymore."