New faces hope to propel Chiefs’ tennis to victory
Iroquois’ boys tennis team will have an almost entirely new look to it this spring after graduating five of the seven starters off a squad that finished 2-8 last year.
Fortunately for coach David Uhl, one of his two returning starters, freshman James McElhinny III, has the makings of a standout singles player after just missing out on advancing to the Section VI championship tournament by way of his fifth-place finish at ECICs.
Junior Paul Neff is the squad’s only other returning starter, though even he will most likely find himself in an unfamiliar role when, Uhl said, he moves up to singles competition following a steady dose of doubles play the past few seasons.
Senior Austin Besch, meanwhile, did see some starting time last season but will be more of a regular in doubles play this spring. The current plan is to have him team with fellow senior Nathan Efstation.
Foreign exchange students Ferdinand Zehetmeier (Germany) and Stevan Trivanovic (Serbia) are also on the inside track to starting roles, Uhl said.
The rest of the squad — senior Ryan Burns, juniors Daniel Baker, Tanner Gustavel, James Tokasz, Alex Zygmunt and Brandon Morgan, freshmen Devon Greier and Nicolis Pacer, and eighth-graders Jacob Rowland and Owen Szeglowski — will spend the season vying for starting time.
“We are in a tough division with just a few returning starters, but the players and I are confident that we will be a much stronger team as the season progresses,” Uhl said. “I am excited about the return of McElhinny, and the two foreign exchange students should add a spark to our team. These kids this year as a whole really have the drive to improve each match.”
Iroquois, which aspires to finish in the middle of the ECIC II regular-season standings, was scheduled to kick off its campaign Wednesday at Hamburg, but information about that match — including whether or not it was even played — was not available at press time.
The Chiefs close out their week by hosting Williamsville South Friday, and then continue to approach the midpoint of the season next week by traveling to Lake Shore Monday and Sweet Home Wednesday.