Men’s Tennis Team: State Championship Repeat?

Men's Tennis Team: State Championship Repeat?

Nathan Albrinck

By Nathan Albrinck ’16, Sports Section Editor

In their 2014 season, the Cincinnati Country Day School Men’s Tennis Team won three State Championships, as a team and individually in singles and doubles. The team championship was Country Day’s first ever. In singles, Asher Hirsch ’15 secured his second straight State Championship with a win over teammate JJ Wolf ’17. In doubles, senior Patrick Wildman ’14 and freshman Kevin Yu ’17 teamed up to complete the championship sweep.

Following this dominant and historic 2014 season, the Indians had very high expectations going into the 2015 season. The team now has just one weekend left in their season, the State Tournament. On Friday and Saturday (May 29th and 30th), the individual tournament finishes. Asher will be competing for singles and the duos of sophomores Shaheel Mitra ’17 and Vishaal Nalagatla ’17 and seniors Chase Tholke ’15 and Leonard Behrens ’15 for doubles. Asher is coming off a strong district performance, finishing first after beating Indian Hill’s first two singles players. The doubles teams finished third and fourth in districts, both qualifying for state.

Asher, in his senior season, is favored to win the singles title for the 3rd consecutive year. Next year, he will be attending the University of Illinois, whose tennis team is one of the strongest in the country. The young duo of Shaheel and Vishaal will look to stun the competition against a field of more experienced teams. Senior veterans Chase and Leonard will also be chasing the doubles crown. Next year they will be attending Miami (Oxford) and Stevens respectively.

The 2015 team as a whole is again strong, but without doubles state champion and singles state finalist Patrick Wildman and singles state finalist JJ Wolf. According to Coach Matt Detkas, the biggest challenge for the team will be “Somebody like Kevin or Vishaal or a doubles team stepping up and winning a big match under pressure.” On Sunday, May 31st, the Indians will compete in the semifinals (and hopefully finals) of the state team tournament. Country Day’s toughest match to reach state came against local rival Indian Hill, in which Country Day won 3-2 after a long, 3-set win by sophomore Kevin Yu. Their final match to reach state was an easy win over conference rival Seven Hills. In the state semifinals, the team will play Lexington, whom they lost to earlier in the year while missing some players. Country Day will have to find a way to beat Lexington as they were unable to do earlier.

On repeating as state champions, Coach Detkas said, “We definitely have a chance. Our job is to have a chance every year. A lot of things have to go right to win it.” After a long season full of challenges, injuries, and absences, the Indians have earned that chance to repeat as Division II Ohio State Champions. You can watch the Indians play next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Ohio State’s outdoor varsity tennis courts.