Crimson Tide turned in the best season of any Hillsboro school in '12

The 2012 season was solid if not spectacular for the Glencoe boys tennis team. What this year’s squad — with several experienced upperclassmen and a number of talented but more novice players — will accomplish is to be determined.

A year ago, the Crimson Tide turned in the top finish among the three Hillsboro schools that compete in the Pacific Conference, posting a 7-7 record in league play. That mark, which tied with Tigard, slotted the Tide behind Newberg, Tualatin and McMinnville.

At the district tournament, the Tide slipped a bit to sixth place, but Kurtis Campbell, a senior, advanced to the Class 6A state tournament.

“We lost a lot of guys to graduation last year, and I think we somewhat underperformed a little bit,” Glencoe coach Todd Powell said. “But this year, I’m seeing a lot better attitude, and I’ve taken more commitment myself to really keep the attitude higher and create a more family atmosphere. I think I’ve already got people on board.”

And he got quite a few of them. A total of 25 boys have turned out for Powell, including six freshmen.

In singles, Powell expects for his top player, senior Wesley Upton, to advance to the state tournament. Upton started the season by going 2-1 against players from Aloha, Glencoe and Tigard.

Another fourth-year player, Dan Forbes, has been holding down the No. 2 singles berth, while sophomore Daniel Kolesnicov was playing in the third singles spot.

Before matches started, Powell said that one of two sophomores, Kyle Campbell and Nathan Sexton, is likely to fill the fourth singles position and Campbell has been getting the nod in the season’s early going.

The top two doubles teams, Powell said, will probably be some combination of Brendon Summers, Campbell, Sexton and Ryan Barger. Summers and Barger did go 2-1 in No. 2 doubles in Glencoe’s first three matches last week, while Powell was pairing Josh Bailey with Sexton in the top spot.

Overall, Powell is excited about his team — for now and for the future.

“We’re going to be young … but still, they’re more talented,” Powell said about his team. “They just don’t know what they’re doing yet. If we can just get them to figure it out, we’ll be great.

“I’m actually very encouraged this year, because I think we’ve got some good numbers. And I think the next four years is going to be good.”

Century Jaguars

Century’s boys will be trying to do more with less this season. Before the start of matches last week, only eight Century boys had turned out for the tennis team this spring, which is four short of the number needed to fill a full varsity singles and doubles squad.

But, offering hope for the future, five of those eight players are freshmen and sophomores. Senior Danh Vu is a captain, and Chris Finley and Alexander Hoag also provide senior leadership.

Century coach Zarko Suklje also pointed out Tommy Edwards, just a freshman, as a promising player who may be the team’s best. Suklje said he plans to fill out the singles side of the team first. Vu played No. 1 singles in 2012 and Suklje said he is the likely No. 2 in 2013.

“We have to fill up singles first because we don’t have that many people,” he said.

Other players on this year’s squad are Phoomin Wattanatam, Connor Melanson, Gavin Chan and Raj Doshi.

Hillsboro Spartans

The numbers are good for the Hilhi boys tennis team — first-year coach Daniel Polzin said 14 or 15 players came out this season.

But it may take some time to see those numbers develop into results for the Spartans, who took seventh place in both the Pacific Conference dual standings and in the district tournament in 2012.

Polzin said his team is mostly split between seniors and freshmen, and a number of his players are new to the sport.

“That’s where my teaching background comes into play,” said Polzin, a longtime tennis instructor, primarily in Lake Oswego. “I can develop these kids and get them good ground strokes and strategy and all of that kind of thing.”

Polzin identified Steven Nguyen and Benson Hang, both seniors, as the Spartans’ top threats.

“Our top two singles players are probably the guys to watch out for,” Polzin said, referring to Nguyen and Hang.

But Polzin is also enthusiastic about Josh McCullough, who is playing No. 3 singles for the Spartans despite a relative lack of experience. And he praised another senior, Eduardo Beltran, whose play — once he recovers from a bum shoulder — Polzin is anticipating.

“If I could just have 12 of him,” Polzin said about Beltran. “His attitude is great. He’s always got a positive outlook. He works hard. He’s everything you want in a player.”

The Hillsboro girls will look to replace Carmen Mosley and Isabella Irimesku, a doubles tandem that received the No. 3 seed in the 6A girls tournament in 2012 and advanced to the quarterfinals. Both players were seniors.

Liberty Falcons

Jason Dortch was a late hire at Liberty as the boys tennis coach, so he is still getting to know his team of more than a dozen players. But the foundation for a solid squad is already in place.

Two of his players, Shaun Thean and Aspen Russell, are back this year after qualifying for the Class 5A boys state tournament in 2012. Thean competed in singles while Russell was paired with the now-graduated Marcus Schmeck in doubles.

“The kids are great,” Dortch said Monday at the Falcons’ season-opening match at Hillsboro. “Really nice group of boys and seem to be real supportive of each other.”

In the Hilhi match, senior Michael Jensen was playing No. 1 singles for Liberty, while Cooper Kamps, who Dortch said is a home school student who has played quite a bit of tennis, is already showing promise as a freshman.

“They have really good ground strokes,” Dortch said of Kamps, Jensen, Thean and Russell. “Their serves are good.”

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