Strong in singles, optimistic in doubles, Richmond is gearing up to make a run in boys tennis.
The Red Devils return No. 1 singles standout Eric Hollingsworth, a sophomore who was a first-team all-state selection in his first varsity season.
Hollingsworth finished his freshman campaign 24-2 and advanced to the individual regional tournament.
RHS graduated some critical components from last year’s 13-5 squad that advanced to a sectional final, but stability at singles should help steer the Red Devils into 2014.
“We have some good depth coming back,” said RHS coach Randy Hollingsworth.
“The singles will be pretty solid. We’ll have to grow into the doubles spots. As time progresses I think we’ll be fine there.”
Expected contributors include Jordan Lake, Logan Mayer, Jacob Weiss, Daniel Jones and Ross Doughty.
Lake, Mayer and Weiss played doubles for much of last season.
Coach Hollingsworth noted that some positions had not been decided earlier this week as the Red Devils aim toward their season opener Aug. 20 at Northeastern.
The Knights knocked off the Red Devils 3-2 in last year’s sectional final to claim a fourth consecutive championship. Northeastern went on to win regional and semistate crowns on the way to the state finals in Indianapolis.
“That’s going to be a good match,” Hollingsworth said. “They’ll be more than ready. That’s a tough match to start with, for both teams, really. That will give us a pretty good idea of where we’re at.”
Richmond goes from the Knights to another Wayne County foe, playing host to Hagerstown on Aug. 21. The Red Devils then face a pair of North Central Conference rivals, Huntington North and Logansport, Aug. 23 on the Tiernan Center courts.
Richmond finished 4-2 in conference play last season. Marion won the NCC title.
The NCC this year features a conference tennis tournament, scheduled for Sept. 20.
The conference is divided into East and West divisions now, with RHS, Anderson, Marion, Muncie Central and Huntington North in the East, and Logansport, Kokomo and newcomers Lafayette Jeff, Harrison and McCutcheon in the West.
The Red Devils travel Aug. 30 to face Lafayette Jeff and McCutcheon.
Richmond also hosts its own invitational Sept. 6.
“We tend to make good progress and improve. That’s what I’m looking for again,” Hollingsworth said. “I think our schedule will help us get better. By the end of the season, come sectional, I think we’ll be a pretty good team.”
Sports editor Josh Chapin: (765) 973-4463, email@example.com or twitter.com/JoshChapinPI
• Aug. 20: at Northeastern
• Aug. 21: vs. Hagerstown
• Aug. 23: vs. Huntington North*/Logansport*
• Aug. 27: vs. Connersville
• Aug. 30: at Lafayette Jeff/McCutcheon
• Sept. 2: at Lincoln
• Sept. 4: vs. Muncie Central*
• Sept. 6: RHS Invitational
• Sept. 13: at Marion*/Anderson*
• Sept. 15: vs. East Central
• Sept. 20: at NCC Tournament
• Sept. 22: vs. Centerville
• Sept. 27: at Delta Invitational