After a 10-3 season and his team’s first OCC championship since 2005, Dublin Scioto boys tennis coach Sean Gilbert said his returning players challenged him in the offseason to raise the level of competition this spring.
Gilbert responded, highlighted by registering his team to play in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association’s Division I team tournament.
The Irish opened on April 4 by playing against St. Charles in a match in the first round where the winner faced Olentangy in the second round on a date to be determined.
“We talked towards the end of last season that with some of the success the guys had, we were talking about what we could do next from a competitive point of view,” said Gilbert, who is in his third season. “Some of the guys were talking about other teams that they would start playing on, more competitive teams, and OTCA is definitely a way to do that.”
The non-league program includes matches at Jerome on April 28 and at home against Coffman on May 9.
The best homecoming is junior Sohum Patel, who was the third-team all-OCC-Capital Division last season on first singles.
“We are excited,” Patel said. “We come hard in training. We have a lot of young people. We are solid. We have trained hard, worked hard and used the time. It will be a good season.”
Gilbert expects Akash Manoj to play second single, with Arjun Patel for third single. Both are juniors.
Manoj (third single) and Moksh Desai (second double) were first-team all-league a year ago and Desai is the lone senior.
Juniors Aakash Shah and Will Smialek and sophomore Kunaal Karnani are in their first season at university and should play doubles.
“It depends on the day, but they’re all capable of beating each other, which is good,” Gilbert said. “They are all really good friends and they are a really competitive group, so it’s fun to hear them talk rubbish to each other, but they also support each other. It really motivates them to bring out their best every time. It’s a nice problem to have with all the guys who beat each other. ”
Scioto first finished in OCC-Capital last season 7-0, two wins ahead of second-place Worthington Kilbourne and Westerville North. The Irish host Kilbourne on April 7 and North on April 26.
“The league is wide open, but we look strong again where we should have a good shot to defend our title and go back-to-back,” Gilbert said. “I use it as motivation for the guys. The boys are super competitive. They take pride in that. They want to defend their championship and they know they have the opportunity to do something special. ”
It was Scioto’s first league title since finishing 4-0 at the 2005 OCC Cardinal.
The Irish are looking for improved play in the off-season after only one player, 2021-trained Luis Ramirez Marquez, moved on to the district last season. He lost his only district match.
“Last year was my first year in the off-season so I get the experience this year and hopefully I will be a district qualifier,” said Sohum Patel.
•Coach: Brett Hundertpfund, 10th season
• Top players: Shinya Akiyama, Sai Bethina, Riley Buskin, Gustavo Carvalheira, Bryan Li and Nick Shough
• Key loss: Anton Bakunin, Fedor Bakunin, Isaac Frank, Sanjay Janardhan, Siddharth Rajagopal and William Sun
• Last season: 6-7 overall
• 2021 OCC-Central position: Olentangy Orange (5-0), Upper Arlington (4-1), Olentangy Liberty (3-2), Coffman (2-3), Hilliard Bradley (1-4), Hilliard Davidson (0-5)
•Overview: According to coach Brett Hundertpfund, Nick Shough is “the real deal” as he steps into the first-singles position as new.
Senior Bryan Li, who reached a section quarterfinal in singles, and junior Shinya Akiyama, who gained college experience last season, are the best recurring and are likely to play singles as well.
Senior Sai Bethina and sophomore Riley Buskin are advancing from junior university to fill roles in either singles or doubles.
Junior Gustavo Carvalheira and freshmen Alec O’Sullivan and Andy Yu are others who want to see action.
Coffman is to replace four 2021 candidates who advanced to the district in doubles. Sanjay Janardhan and William Sun reached a district quarterfinal after winning a section title, while Anton Bakunin and Siddharth Rajagopal also reached a district quarterfinal after finishing second.
• Cited: “We have a younger team, but we have a lot of talent. We have a tough conference, so we will try to do it as well as possible and ensure that everyone improves from match to match and tries to basically peak for the off-season. ” – Hundertpfund
– Jarrod Ulrey
•Coach: Ken Berlin, sixth season
• Top players: Max Fickas, Kevin Liu, Tanish Pairu and Eli Wiblin
• Key loss: None
• Last season: 14-2 overall
• 2021 OCC-Cardinal position: Jerome (5-0), Thomas Worthington (4-1), Olentangy (3-2), Olentangy Berlin (2-3), Hilliard Darby (1-4), Marysville (0-5)
•Overview: After losing some players to the exam, the Celtics are seeking their seventh league championship in a row, while also seeking to improve another consecutive Division I OTCA district placement.
Leading the way will seniors Max Fickas and Tanish Pairu and classmates Kevin Liu and Eli Wiblin, who represented the Celtics in doubles last season in the state. Fickas and Pairu finished 1-1, and Liu and Wiblin went 0-1.
Also left are senior Arnav Madani, juniors Rohan Althavale and Maxwell Stratford and sophomore Cayden Stratford.
Sophomore Connor Wetli and freshman Ethan Xiao round out the squad.
• Cited: “It’s always great to get a season going, whether it’s the girls or the boys. It is the excitement and anticipation for what will hopefully be a big, exciting year for us. … We’re returning four guys who qualified for the state tournament last year. We hope the experience will be good for us this season. We had zero seniors last year. We have a good mix between some new younger players, but then our core is our five experienced seniors who are left. ” – coach Ken Berlin
– Frank DiRenna
•Coach: Sean Gilbert, third season
• Top players: Moksh Desai, Akash Manoj, Arjun Patel and Sohum Patel
• Key loss: Luis Ramirez Marquez, Anutam Srinivasan and Visvam Srinivasan
• Last season: 10-3 overall
• 2021 OCC-Capital position: Scioto (7-0), Worthington Kilbourne (5-2), Westerville North (5-2), Big Walnut (4-3), Delaware (3-4), Westerville South (3-4), Canal Winchester (1 ) -6), Franklin Heights (0-7)