Sycamore High School’s boys tennis team unseated Mason as the Greater Miami Conference tennis champions last season and took its third title in the last five years. Since 2000, the Aviators have won 10 GMC crowns.
The Aves were a perfect 9-0 in the league and 19-1 overall for Coach of the Year Mike Teets. They also featured returning senior Deepak Indrakanti as the GMC Player of the Year. Indrakanti will play at Williams College next season.
Also part of the six returning starters is senior Nakul Narendran, a Johns Hopkins signee who teamed with the graduated Mustafa Ahmad to win the Division I doubles championship last season. Other seniors are Marian College commit Alex Wittenbaum, a state doubles qualifier with Noah Stern last season, and Aditya Venkitarama.
Junior Alex Taylor and sophomore Stern round out the powerful pack of racquets Teets has at his disposal.
Narendran, Taylor, Stern, Wittenbaum and Venkitarama were all GMC first team last spring, with Indrakanti second team even though he was 21-4 at first singles playing everyone’s top player. Narendran also made Division I first team All-State.
Early on, Indrankanti and Taylor have handled first and second singles, respectively, with Stern and Narendran splitting third singles. When not playing singles, Stern teams with Wittenbaum, his state doubles partner or Narendran steps in with Regis Liou. Venkitarama has played second doubles with Nathan Zhang and Wittenbaum.
“I really like their work ethic,” Teets said of his squad. “They’re extremely hungry and excited to start the season. They know what they accomplished last year is history and this is a new season with new challenges. Everything must be earned.”
Sycamore started the season north of town winning 4-1 matches against Cleveland St. Ignatius and Massillon Jackson. The Aves host Hamilton and Mason April 8 and 9 on their newly-refurbished courts at the Cornell Road campus.
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy had a smattering of its players including Nathaniel Hipsley, Chris Bolinger, Andrew Breeze-Stringfellow, John Wells, Justin Sikkema, David Humphrey and Michael O’Brien receive all-Miami Valley Conference recognition last season.
No further information was available as of press time.
So far, the Eagles are 0-3 following losses to Chaminade-Julienne, La Salle and St. Xavier. The Eagles returned to the court against Summit Country Day April 7.
The only place to go is up in the Greater Catholic League-South for Moeller High School’s tennis team as St. Xavier has had a stranglehold on the championship dating back to when The Beatles were still playing concerts (1965).
The Crusaders tied for second in the league at 3-3 and were 14-5 overall last season under Coach Alex Thompson. They have had four consecutive winning seasons.
The roster is young with five juniors and two sophomores. Juniors Michael Tepe, Kelley Peter and Alec Hoelker are returning starters along with sophomore Max Berky. Sophomore Michael Keyser also should figure into the equation and juniors Joe Burns and Justin Cashman are also on the squad.
Tepe was GCL-South second team in singles in 2014, going 4-2 in the league and 17-3 overall in second singles. Berky played third singles and was 4-2 in the league and 12-6 overall. Peter, Keyser and Hoelker were mainly doubles players a year ago.
“This is a very fun, young team who really wants to win,” Thompson said. “They have been putting in a ton of work that will hopefully pay off.”
Moeller returns after their spring break to take on Springfield April 13.
After winning four consecutive Cincinnati Hills League championships, the Indian Hill High School boys tennis team had another successful season in 2014, but finished second to a veteran Wyoming team.
Coach Marc Young is back in 2015 with a line-up led by junior Alex Warstler, a state tournament qualifier in his freshman and sophomore years. Warstler is a year round competitor who is nationally ranked.
Also back for the Braves is the veteran doubles team of senior Graydon Cowan and junior Rohit Musti. Expected to contribute as sophomores are Milan Bhandari, Christiano Lima and Pablo Guzman and adding depth is junior Durham Colohan and sophomore Mrinal Singh.
Newcomers are freshman Andrew Pregel and senior transfer Ryan Snyder. Pregel is a ranked 16 and under player in the USTA Midwest.
Indian Hill was a quarter-finalist in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association team tournament in 2014 and Young would like to surpass that and have state representation in singles and doubles this spring.
“We have a very demanding schedule, facing great teams from Cincinnati, from central and northern Ohio and from Louisville,” Young said. “If these Braves can come together as a team, I believe we can compete with the best. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Ahead for Indian Hills is a home match with Walnut Hills April 10.
Players to watch
Deepak Indrankanti, senior, Sycamore: GMC Player of the Year. First singles.
Nakul Narendran, senior, Sycamore: First-team All-Ohio in 2014.
Alex Taylor, junior, Sycamore: First-team GMC singles player.
Noah Stern, sophomore, Sycamore: First-team GMC and state doubles partner of Alex Wittenbaum
Alex Wittenbaum, senior, Sycamore: First-team GMC and state doubles partner of Noah Stern.
Aditya Venkitarma, senior, Sycamore: First-team GMC in doubles.
Alex Warstler, junior, Indian Hill: Two-time state qualifier in singles and nationally-ranked.
Andrew Pregel, freshman, Indian Hill: Nationally-ranked 16 and under newcomer.
Michael Tepe, junior, Moeller. Returning singles player who made GCL-South second team.