City League Roundup: Max Wissman shining on tennis court for Centennial Stars

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Centennial senior Max Wissman competes in the City League tournament April 26 at South. Wissman has been at first singles all season for the Stars, and he's the fourth seed for the Division II sectional May 13 and 15 at Columbus Academy.

Heading into the 2019 postseason, Centennial’s Max Wissman earned the No. 3 seed for the Division II sectional boys tennis tournament. 

Things didn’t pan out in his pursuit of advancing to the district tournament, however, as he fell 7-5, 7-5 to Columbus Academy’s Ryan Panley in a quarterfinal. 

Now a senior and coming off a regular season in which he’s lost just one match, Wissman again figures to have a strong shot at qualifying for district. 

Wissman is the fourth seed for the sectional May 13 and 15 at Academy, with the top four finishers in singles and doubles advancing to district May 20 and 22 at Academy. 

His only loss before he competed in the City League championship singles match May 6 at Africentric was 6-3, 6-3 on March 29 to Watterson’s Nick Geelan, who is the No. 2 seed for the same sectional. 

“It’s been going pretty well so far,” Wissman said. “I’m definitely very glad we got a team together and have been able to have a season with all the stuff going on. I’m glad we got seven guys out and am glad to play (the City individual) tournament again and play in the sectionals again. It’s a good time.” 

At the City tournament April 28 at Africentric, Wissman was beating Mifflin’s Shaun Fountain 4-0 in the first set of the championship match when it was suspended because of bad weather. It was scheduled to be completed May 6. 

The Stars opened City tournament competition April 26 at South. 

Wissman beat senior teammate Aiden Ly 6-1, 6-0 in a semifinal to advance to the title match. 

While Ly has been at second singles all season, senior Ben Hendricks has played third singles. 

Centennial’s other entrants at the City tournament were the doubles teams of junior Meena Kalil and sophomore Jalen Davis and senior Aiden Gleckner and sophomore Will Moore. 

“We’ve got a lot of people (on our team) who have never played the sport before, but it’s been good,” Wissman said. “Coach (Barbara Stevenson) is great, helping guys figure things out, and it’s been going well.” 

In singles at sectional, Wissman opens against Hartley’s Peter Reinker, Ly opens against Marion Pleasant’s Eian Zachman and Hendricks opens against Grandview’s Max Lauer. 

Wissman could run into Cole Petrilla, who has been at second singles for most of the season for Watterson, in a quarterfinal. 

In doubles, Moore and Gleckner open against Watterson’s Grant Gilsenan and Tommy Spence and Davis and Kalil open against DeSales’ Michael James and Kevin Heil. 

Centennial lost five of its first six matches and split its first two City-North Division contests.

“I’m happy to have a team to tell you the truth,” Stevenson said. “I didn’t think I was going to have a team until two weeks into March and so when I tried to schedule City schools, they didn’t know if they’d have a team. We were not in the building. … They’re all intelligent. They all have 4.0 grade-point averages. 

“(Wissman has) got exceptional ground strokes. He’s been playing since he was 5 years old. He made all-City (as a freshman and sophomore) and he’s just a super nice kid. … He’s the strongest player in City schools.” 

Cougars, Vikings 

set for sectional 

The Beechcroft and Northland boys tennis teams also open the postseason May 13 with sectional competition. 

The Cougars will join Centennial in one of the Division II sectionals at Academy, with Northland competing in a Division I sectional at Reynoldsburg. 

In the City tournament for the Cougars, the doubles team of sophomores Adeboye Adeagbo and Eric Mensah beat Centennial’s Moore and Gleckner 8-3 in a quarterfinal but lost to Whetstone’s Owen Hostetler and Max Johnson 6-2, 6-0 in a semifinal. Hostetler and Johnson also beat Beechcroft juniors Lord Boateng and Taurean Pender 8-1 in a quarterfinal. 

Senior Aaron Verma was lost for the season with an ankle injury at the City tournament. 

At sectional, Boateng opens against Watterson’s Petrilla and Pender opens against DeSales’ Brendan Ballard in singles. The doubles teams of juniors Denzel Lyles and Antwoin Reed Jr. and Adeagbo and Mensah have first-round byes. 

Lyles spent most of the season at first singles. 

“I wasn’t expecting to have that many kids make it through just knowing what the competition is and not having played many matches yet,” coach Daphne Hess said. “We’ve had a great time. We’ve had a lot of alums hit with us and work with the guys.” 

The top four finishers in singles and doubles at the Division I sectional advance to district May 20 and 22 at Reynoldsburg. 

For Northland at sectional, sophomore Davion Bridges opens against Westerville Central’s Will Arnett and sophomore Dominic Fritsche opens against Chillicothe’s Colin Halm in singles. In doubles, sophomores Elijah Binford and Latrell Ucker open against Hilliard Davidson’s Jonathan Goshima and Michael Foster and junior Kevin White Jr. and sophomore Drew Roland open against Lancaster’s Will Richardson and Evan Alspach. 

At the City tournament, Bridges won his opening match and lost in the second round. 

“They’ve had fun and they’ve improved,” coach Sean Taylor said. “This year for most of them, if not all of them, this was their first time picking up a racket.” 

Track teams prep

for postseason 

The postseason begins with district competition for City boys and girls track and field teams May 18, with Division I being held at Hilliard Darby, Division II at Westerville North and Division III at Granville. District concludes May 22. 

The City meet began May 11 and concludes May 13 at Africentric. 

One of the final preparations for the league and postseason meets was held April 28 when Beechcroft played host to the Cougar Invitational, with Africentric scoring 125 points in the boys meet and 115 in the girls meet to sweep the titles. 

Then on May 3 in the eight-team Gilcrest-White Invitational at South, the Eastmoor boys scored 168 points and Africentric was runner-up (132), and the Africentric girls scored 113 to win and Eastmoor was runner-up (105). 

Among the standouts in both meets was Africentric senior Eli Burke, who won the boys high jump by going 6 feet, 6 inches at the Cougar Invitational and 6-7 at the Gilcrest-White Invitational. 

julrey@thisweeknews.com 

@UlreyThisWeek