Boys Tennis: New Central Crossing Comets coach battling low numbers, inexperience

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Coach Cody Hawkins speaks with the members of his Central Crossing boys tennis team during practice April 5. The Comets started with six players and are looking for at least one more player to complete the varsity lineup.

Cody Hawkins didn’t expect to be coaching the Central Crossing boys tennis team, but he's excited about the opportunity.

The first-year coach takes over for Dusty Rhodes, who resigned after 10 seasons. Boys basketball coach Neil Hohman, who led the girls tennis program from 2009-16, and wrestling coach Jamie Ramirez were going to be co-coaches until Hawkins took the position.

“It’s all happened pretty quickly,” said Hawkins, who also took over the girls tennis program last fall. “We’re doing what we can to adjust.”

Hawkins first met with his team April 5.

Calvin Lim and Bogdan Semchishin are seniors for the Comets, who opened with a 5-0 loss to Bloom-Carroll on April 7.

“Bodgan came over and played with the girls in the fall, but I didn’t coach him then,” Hawkins said. “Calvin has been on the team for his whole high school career. It’s the first official season for the rest of the team because the sophomores missed last season because (the) COVID(-19 coronavirus pandemic) canceled the season.”

The other players are sophomores Jeremy Pauquette and David Semchishin and freshmen Andrew Semchishin and Max Shishlo.

“We have a few other kids that might be coming, but right now anyone interested in playing tennis can show up,” said Hawkins, who is a music teacher at Highland Park Elementary. “We have six right now, but we need seven to complete a varsity lineup. We’d love to get as many hard-working boys as we can.”

Hawkins said he learned a lot as a first-time head coach last fall.

“I think I’m a better coach after coaching the girls,” he said. “I understand how to set up practices and how to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the kids. I know how to get from point A to point B.”

INSIDE THE COMETS

•Coach: Cody Hawkins, first season

•Next match: April 15 vs. Pickerington Central

•Key athletes: Calvin Lim, Andrew Semchishin, Bogdan Semchishin and David Semchishin

Grove City coach 

expects improvement 

Second-year Grove City coach Josh Chandler expects his team to improve on its 9-10 record from 2019. 

“I love what I see so far,” Chandler said. “We have a lot of kids who are hard workers and are wanting to improve, which is good to have. They all have positive attitudes towards things. The mental game is half of tennis, so I like where we’re at.” 

Chandler expects a strong season at first singles from senior Abraham Hougland, who transferred from Columbus South before his junior year and attended high school in Illinois as a freshman. 

“He’s a very good player,” Chandler said. “I anticipate him winning a lot of matches this year.” 

Back is senior Jesse Stevens, who will play second singles, while junior Owen Miller is at No. 3. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing Jesse playing matches,” Chandler said. “He’s been putting in the work during the offseason going to clinics and private lessons. I’m excited to see the finished product.” 

At first doubles will be junior Carter Wassmuth and freshman Brennan Lehman with junior Dylan McDougle and sophomore Keegan Hix on the second court. 

Grove City swept the singles courts to open with a 3-2 victory at Marysville on April 6. 

“We have a very tough schedule this year, especially with our division,” Chandler said. “It’s really tough, but I’m excited to see us stay positive and compete every time we’re out there. Our division is the best one in central Ohio.” 

INSIDE THE GREYHOUNDS 

•Coach: Josh Chandler, second season 

•Next match: April 15 vs. Westerville Central 

•Key athletes: Abraham Hougland, Owen Miller and Jesse Stevens 

–Frank DiRenna

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