With just two seniors, Westland High School boys tennis coach Dan Witteman not only has focused on the season, but on the future of the program.
The Cougars had won consecutive matches for the first time this season and were 4-7 overall before playing Franklin Heights on May 1.
"We're playing better and this is the year where I've had a lot of different lineups and I've played some people at singles or doubles," Witteman said. "We only have two seniors (Jordan Bare and Liudeli Torres), so I'm trying to get as many people match experience. I feel like they're tennis players first and tennis players play singles and tennis players play doubles."
Westland finished 1-6 in the OCC-Central Division, with its win coming against Central Crossing (3-2 on April 24).
Winners against the Comets were junior Bryan Moreno at first singles (7-5, 6-1), junior Jonathan Marshall at second singles (6-1, 6-2) and junior Zack Prak at third singles (3-6, 6-1, 6-3).
"That was a league match for us. It was a close match, so that was a good match (to win)," Witteman said.
The Cougars defeated Briggs 4-1 on April 29
Winners were Marshall at first singles (6-2, 6-7, 6-2), Prak at second singles (6-4, retired), junior Grant Bare at third singles (6-0, 6-0) and Jordan Bare and junior Tyler Staten at first doubles (6-4. 4-6, 6-4).
Westland will compete in the OCC tournament Saturday, May 10, at a site to be determined. The tournament had been scheduled for May 3 but was postponed because not all league matches had been played.
Softball team looking for strong finish
Among the goals for the softball team for the remainder of the season is earning the respect of its opponents.
Westland was 2-13 overall and 0-7 in the OCC-Central before playing Thomas Worthington on May 1.
The Cougars lost to Lewistown Indian Lake 10-0 and Gahanna 15-1, both in five innings, April 26 at North Union.
"Prior to practice (April 28), we discussed the accomplishments that we have had so far, individually and as a team," coach Kerry Maher said. "We now know what we are capable of ... We talked about all of the reasons to continue to work hard and to finish the season with the same attitude and effort we started with.
"We are also playing to earn respect from our opponents. We want our opponents to believe they need to play their 'A' game when they play the Westland softball team. Our seniors deserve a great, complete season. We are just starting to build this program. This is a valuable time for our athletes to gain experience and confidence."
Baseball team still giving good effort
Baseball coach Dave Dan-iels remains pleased with the effort being put forth by his players.
Westland was 0-14 overall and 0-7 in the OCC-Central before playing Dublin Coffman on May 1.
The Cougars, who lost to St. Charles 3-0 and Canal Winchester 14-3 in six innings April 26, had scored more than three runs only once in their first 14 games (a 13-5 loss to Marysville on April 9) and had been shut out five times.
"We've played hard even in defeat," Daniels said. "This team pulls together and our goal is to improve, get better and win some games."
Through 14 games, Zach Riley was hitting .267 with three RBI and Nolan Lee had a team-high five RBI.
Girls track team finishes first in meet
The girls track and field team won seven events and scored 79 points to finish first in a tri-meet against host Franklin Heights (39) and Ready (38) on April 29.
Donna Mayhew won two events, finishing first in the 1,600 meters (5 minutes, 54.3 seconds) and 800 (2:35.4). Also winning were India Alston in the 100 (13.9), Alaysha Hutson in the shot put (29 feet, 1/2 inch), Colynn Taylor in the discus (91-5) and Avery Mills in the high jump (4-4).
The boys team won four events and finished second (41) in the tri-meet behind Franklin Heights (98) and ahead of Ready (17).
Finishing first were Tim Bailey in the 800 (2:15.2), Connor Scott in the 200 (23.7), Dominick Thomas in the high jump (5-4) and the 400 relay of Giann Martinez, Scott, Erick Martinez and Abdul Diallo (45.8).
Bailey is a wheelchair competitor.
"I was, overall, pleased with those that competed," coach Tim Eckard said. "We were missing some of our key contributors, but kids are still improving and getting better. We need to keep working hard so that we can peak in a few weeks when the postseason arrives. We view meets this time of year as a good measuring stick for how things will look come the postseason. While we definitely need to improve in a few areas, overall, I am pleased with our progress so far."