Tennis team looks to continue win streak
The Parkland boys tennis team reached a milestone last April when it recorded a 6-1 win over Freedom for the program's 100th straight league win.
The streak is still going strong at 103 games, but the defense of the streak will have to go on without some key players from last year's squad.
Graduation took its toll on the Parkland boys tennis team, which lost players like Egor Ivanov, Roshan Joshi, Marcus Spiegel, Mike Adams and Donovan Snyder, who all played key roles on last year's district championship team.
"We will be young and somewhat inexperienced, but we still have high expectations," said second-year coach Mike Hingston, who led the team to a 16-2 overall record last season. "We expect to be fairly consistent in singles and doubles."
Of course, faced with the challenge of keeping his team's success level high, Hingston found out that when it rains, it pours. More appropriately, it snows. The winter weather and cold that kept the snow around longer than usual has made it tough for Hingston to truly assess just what he has among his young players.
"The real challenge this year is to get doubles teams ready after losing so much practice time to the bad weather. We have been practicing in the gym a few nights a week, but it's hard to get a ladder set that way," said Hingston. "Our lineup is likely to look different as the season progresses and the weather improves."
The good news is Hingston has Nick Kshatri, his number-two singles player from last season back. Kshatri is a sophomore and has the potential to step into the number-one slot as he continues to develop and become a team leader.
In doubles, junior Peter Harrison, one half of last year's number-one doubles team returns. The number-three doubles team of senior Nishad Gothoskar and sophomore Nate Lyman returns intact, as does the number-four team of seniors Peter Sohn and Luke Kim.
Putting together the team starts with returning juniors Caleb Wade, Nate Rice, Tom Lichtenwalner and Sujay Rajkumar. In addition to those returnees, sophomores Alex Wu, Mitch Knafo, Changyan Wang and Mark Freeman are also back.
Hingston believes that he has a couple of young newcomers who are going to be interesting to watch in freshmen Aneesh Kapoor and Kishan Unjia.
"The top story defining our season will be the progression of the younger players as they embrace their new roles as leaders on and off the court," Hingston said.
Parkland's schedule has an afternoon meet Thursday against Bethlehem Catholic at home before a match against Central Catholic Tuesday at Cedar Crest College.