The DeSales High School boys tennis team's lineup will feature a mix of underclassmen and seniors, but considering that the Stallions had played only one match entering the week, exactly where they fit in was largely undetermined.
Sophomore Nate Stevens was the Stallions' clear first singles player to start the season, but third-year coach Tom Snyder figures to be tinkering with the rest of his lineup for at least the next week, if not longer.
DeSales was 1-0 before its CCL opener April 10 against St. Charles at Columbus School for Girls. The Stallions defeated host Rocky River 3-2 on March 23 but then had a 17-day layoff because of two postponements and spring break. A match at Hilliard Bradley on March 27 was postponed because of bad weather and rescheduled for May 4, and the Stallions’ April 9 match at Lancaster was postponed to April 20.
Stevens was 14-4 last season as the Stallions finished 7-7 overall and 2-2 in the CCL. He fell short of a Division II district tournament berth, losing his opening match at sectional.
"It helps having a definitive No. 1, much like we had last year with Armando DiMichaelangelo (a three-time district qualifier now playing at Muskingum University)," Snyder said. "Having Nate step into that role and accept that challenge is what we need because I feel like we can mix and match the rest of the lineup until we figure it out. ...
"We have six guys who have earned their place on varsity."
Against Rocky River, senior Khoa Do played second singles and freshman Michael James was at third singles, while senior Dylan Benedict and sophomore Liam Verfurth were at first doubles and seniors Justin Braun and Chris Sakowski played second doubles.
"Michael James is a talented freshman player and I'm hoping he'll embrace the third singles spot so we can keep Dylan and Liam together," Snyder said. "(Benedict and Verfurth) played several matches together last year and had good chemistry, but each of them may play singles as well."
Rounding out the roster are sophomore Will McAfee-Weatherspoon and freshmen Kevin Heil and Sam Secrest. All are multi-sport athletes new to tennis, as Heil and McAfee-Weatherspoon play soccer and Secrest is a golfer.
The Stallions finished third in the CCL last year behind six-time defending champion St. Charles (4-0).
Their first designated home match was scheduled for April 11 against Bloom-Carroll at Woodward Park. DeSales currently is not set to play any matches on its home courts this season because of construction.
Ricci leads boys track returnees
The boys track and field team returns one of its two Division I state qualifiers from last year in junior Angelo Ricci, who finished 16th at state in the long jump and won the CCL championship in that event.
Two other league champions return in seniors A.J. Sallee, who won the 110-meter hurdles title and also will compete in the sprints, and Art Williams, who was the 400 champion and also is a distance runner.
Under sixth-year coach Ben McGinnis, DeSales is scheduled to begin its season Friday, April 13, with the Chieftain Relays at Bellefontaine. Bad weather forced the cancelation of the Stallions' first two meets -- an April 4 tri-meet against host Olentangy Orange and Franklin Heights and the Stingel Invitational on April 7 at Pickerington North.
The Stallions must bring along more throwers, as they lost two-time state qualifier Derrius Mullins to graduation. Mullins, who now plays football at the University of Toledo, placed sixth in the shot put and 12th in the discus at state last year.
Expected contributors for the boys team include seniors Joey Garrett (throws), Mitchell Mayerchak (throws) and Zion Parker (distance, middle distance), juniors Ian McCandlish (distance), Isaiah Thomas (sprints), Noah Thompson (hurdles, jumps, sprints) and Caden Zellner (middle distance) and sophomores Jaylen Ball (sprints), Colin Moriarty (jumps, sprints), John Shoemaker (distance) and Ben Towler (distance).
The girls team returns several of its top distance runners and sprinters, including senior Abi DeBrosse, who was runner-up in both the 1,600 and 3,200 in last year's CCL meet, and seniors Alex Foos (hurdles, jumps, sprints) and Jacqueline Scott (sprints).
DeSales did not have any regional qualifiers last season.
Other expected contributors include seniors Cammy Bury (distance) and Kennedy Pannell (throws), juniors Lexi Hall (jumps, sprints), Aliyah Mitchell (sprints), Lindsey Plymale (distance) and Stephanie Suh (jumps, middle distance), sophomore Cate Leithauser (distance) and freshman Cara Jewett (sprints).
Baseball team has winning road trip
Greg Gilbert and Joey Velazquez led the baseball team last week during its annual spring break trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, combining for 17 hits as the Stallions went 3-2.
Velazquez went 9-for-15 at the plate, including a home run in a 15-4 win over Ashland (Kentucky) Paul G. Blazer on April 5. He also pitched six innings that day, striking out eight and allowing seven hits, and had a team-best .611 batting average (11-for-18) through eight games.
Gilbert hit a walk-off three-run home run in an 11-10 win over Morris County (New Jersey) Morris Knolls to cap a 3-for-4 day.
DeSales was 4-4 before its CCL opener April 11 at Watterson.
March 23 -- at Rocky River
*April 10 -- St. Charles at Columbus School for Girls
April 11 -- Bloom-Carroll at Woodward Park
April 12 -- Whetstone at Park of Roses
April 13 -- at Big Walnut
April 14 -- Teays Valley Invitational
April 16 -- Centennial at Antrim Park
*April 17 -- Watterson at Park of Roses
April 18 -- Granville at Otterbein
April 20 -- at Lancaster
April 21 -- Reynoldsburg Doubles Tournament
April 23 -- at Hamilton Township
*April 24 -- Hartley at Wolfe Park
April 25 -- at Dublin Scioto
April 27 -- Mount Vernon at Mount Vernon Nazarene
April 30 -- Beechcroft at Woodward Park
*May 1 -- Ready at TBD
May 3 -- Delaware at TBD
May 4 -- at Hilliard Bradley
May 7 -- at Worthington Christian
May 8 -- at Central Crossing
TRACK & FIELD
April 4 -- at Olentangy Orange with Franklin Heights
April 7 -- Stingel Invitational at Pickerington North
April 13 -- Chieftain Relays at Bellefontaine
April 18 -- Gahanna Relays
April 20 -- Wildcat Invitational at Westerville South
April 27 -- Olentangy Invitational
May 4 -- Africentric Classic
May 8, 10 -- CCL meet at Columbus School for Girls
Below are the coming schedules for the DeSales baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, softball and boys volleyball teams:
April 12 -- At Granville
*April 13 -- At Ready
April 14 -- Home vs. Jonathan Alder
*April 16 -- Home vs. St. Charles
*April 18 -- Home vs. Hartley
April 17 -- At Granville
April 13 -- Home vs. Cincinnati Mariemont
*April 17 -- Home vs. Hartley
April 12 -- At Mount Vernon
April 14 -- At Marysville with Olentangy Orange
*April 16 -- At Watterson
April 14 -- Spike for Tykes at Hiram College
April 16 -- At Dublin Coffman
April 18 -- At Worthington Kilbourne