Spring forecast: Boys' tennis
To open a preview of this season's YAIAA spring sports, we'll serve up the game that's already under way -- boys' tennis.
A week into the season, Dallastown coach Mark Koons has already inched closer to the 300-win milestone. He's doing it, though, with a fresh set of faces at the top of the Wildcats' lineup. Going into the season four No. 1 players return -- well three, plus one who will now officially be his team's top singles player. That, of course, is Anthony Miserendino. Last season, he was the Mustangs' No. 2 and entered the YAIAA tournament as the seventh seed, which didn't stop him from taking the league's tournament crown.
Miserendino's play proved titles aren't a given for a No. 1. Could we see it happen again?
Here's what we know entering the season:
Preseason power rankings
1. South Western (16-3 last season): With defending YAIAA singles champion, Anthony Miserendino returning, the Mustangs are in excellent shape to defend their Division I crown. Back with Miserendino is Quin Meyer, who teammed with Mack Meyer as part of two South Western doubles teams in the postseason.
2. Biglerville (14-5): Not only is Cole Herzing back, but he's back as a No. 1 player for the second year. He was 7-0 in league play last season, and should give the Canners an excellent shot at breaking that three-way tie they had to settle for last year in the YAIAA Division II standings.
3. Dallastown (14-4): In his 23rd season, coach Mark Koons entered in search of his 300th career victory. He was within one win entering Monday, March 18, and is looking to continue his winning ways while replacing his top three singles competitors from a season ago, including Division I Player of the Year Adam Gante. Seniors Payce Berridge and Kyle Salaga entered the year as his most experienced players, along with sophomore John Schmitt.
4. York Suburban (9-6): Like Biglerville with Herzing, Suburban returns an all-star in Michael Hogg. He enters his senior season as a four-year starter and will attempt to be a three-time all-star.
5. Susquehannock (10-5): Coming off a 6 1/2-hour play-in match for districts, Marianne Michels' group has experience from that tri-Division II title team. No. 1 on that list of those returning is Kaltrin Bullaj (12-6), who finished fourth in the YIAA tournament and was a District 3 individual qualifier. Bullaj and Zach Hanson won the league's double tournament last season. Hanson and Jordan Baublitz were lost to graduation, however. Stepping up into higher roles but with experience are junior Dan Ferraro (11-4), a key player on the basketball team, and senior Shane Bookhultz (9-4).
Notes from around the league
- New Oxford is coming off a 12-5 campaign but will usher in some youth this season. Expect sophomore Mike Gruver to contend for the Colonials' No. 1 spot with senior Dwight Kessler. Junior Joel Luckenbaugh could follow them at No. 3.
- Red Lion was 8-4 last season, its first under longtime girls' coach Ronda Vasellas. This season, sophomore Sam Innerst is likely to move up from No. 3 singles to the Lions' top spot. They also return senior C.J. Weigle, who was No. 6 last season. Also expect some freshmen to crack Vasellas' lineup.
- West York, coming off a 5-7 season, has just one returning starter in Josiah Burke. He and Chris Hein are expected to anchor the Bulldogs' first two singles spots.