FOX VALLEY CONFERENCE
Last year’s finish: Did not have a full team.
Top returning players: Lucas Lemon, so.
Worth noting: Lemon is the Rockets’ only player this season. He won one match at the FVC Tournament. … Luke Welker graduated and was a Class 1A state qualifier.
Coach: Amanda Schuetzle (13th season).
Last year’s finish: Second in FVC Tournament.
Top returning players: Noah Marrano, jr.; Bryce Shechtman, so.; Lewis Johnson, jr.; Derek Passaglia, jr.; Jacob Kantayya, sr.
Top new players: Nate Deal, jr.; Chris Weber, sr.; Zach Mazek, sr.; Ryan Dixon, so.; Chris Ptaszek, fr.
Worth noting: The Trojans will try to overcome some tough graduation losses, starting with No. 1 singles player Sam Kedzior and Brandon Burtschi, half of their No. 1 doubles team. The Nos. 2 and 3 doubles teams also are gone. … Marrano was fourth at No. 2 singles, and Johnson was second at No. 2 singles. … “We lost six to graduation, but the bigger part is where we lost them. No. 1 singles, half of No. 1 doubles, and 2 and 3 doubles,” Schuetzle said. “There is a big hole in the middle of our lineup that needs to be filled, along with that top spot. In doing so, players are coming from further down the lineup or from JV. There will be a big learning curve for some of our players.”
Crystal Lake Central
Coach: Cory Osterberg (eighth season).
Last year’s finish: Third in FVC Tournament.
Top returning players: Logan Wasilik, sr.; Anhony Virruso, sr.; Andrew Stawski, sr.; Brandon Oconer, jr.; Connor Wheeland, jr.; Parker Tapp, jr.; Oliver True, jr.; Eli Irwin, so.; Danny Vega, sr.
Top new players: Kento Ono, sr.; Audon Berg, so.; Conor Naughton, so.; Ryan Spencer, fr.; Jackson Lisle, fr.; Tommy Braasch, sr.
Worth noting: Wasilik is the top returning No. 1 singles player in the FVC after taking third place and qualifying for the Class 1A State Tournament. … “We have a nice balance of experience and youth on this year’s team and the team chemistry is quite good,” Osterberg said. “We also have a lot of depth this year. The key is figuring out where within the lineup each player will best benefit the team.” … Ono, a Japanese exchange student, should make an impact with the Tigers.
Crystal Lake South
Coach: Rick Bailey (fifth season).
Last year’s finish: Seventh in FVC Tournament.
Top returning players: Jack Dacy, jr.; Aaron Koh, sr.; AJ Smith, jr.; Ryan Smithana, jr.; Willem Granzin, sr.; Kai Slonneger, so.; Dan Teeteh, jr.; Zenn Blaczyk, jr.; Andy Huang, so.
Top new players: Eryk Bucior, fr.; Zeke Boldman, fr.; Cameron Damon, fr.
Worth noting: The Gators miss Jackson Schuetzle, who graduated after playing three seasons at No. 1 singles. “He is the best tennis player I was lucky enough to coach in 35 years,” Bailey said. … Dacy won the FVC No. 2 singles title after entering the tournament as the No. 4 seed. He will be the Gators’ leader, along with Koh, who played at No. 1 doubles. Granzin also is a two-year varsity player. … Bailey said Smith has made significant improvements and freshmen Bucior, Boldman and Damon all show promise.
Coach: Yuto Tsukida.
Last year’s finish: Ninth in FVC Tournament.
Top returning players: Caleb Krispin, sr.; Nick Miller, jr.; Ben Riggio, jr.; Braeden Jones , jr.; Casey McKinney, so.; Jackson Baird, so.; Esteban Casillas, so.
Top new players: Nathan Garcia, sr.
Coach: Dylan Clark (fifth season).
Last year’s finish: Eighth in FVC Tournament.
Top returning players: Elijah Villegas, jr.; Caed Steuber, jr.; Shiv Patel, sr.; Tyler Yu, sr.; Matthew Crumltt, sr.; Braden Koffen, so.; Ryan Regalado, jr.; Joseph Causing, sr.
Top new players: Jake Notter, so.; Owen Hahn, so.; Braydon Bowgren, so.
Worth noting: Koffen, Steuber and Villegas are vying for the No. 1 singles spot, which makes Clark think the Whip-Purs will be tough in singles. … Crumlett/Yu and Patel/Regalado, likewise are battling for the No. 1 doubles position. … “We are looking to continue improving throughout the season and being purposeful and deliberate,” Clark said. “We want to break into the top three in the FVC. We have all the talent and depth to make great improvements from last year.”
Coach: Barry Wells (18th season).
Last year’s finish: Fourth in FVC Tournament.
Top returning players: Ben Hein, sr.; Jonathon Stec, sr.; Frankie Scarpelli, sr.; Colin Stanley, sr.; Ryan Kruk, sr.; Ishaan Trivedi, jr.
Top new players: Will Geske, fr.; Eashan Cherukuri, fr.; Ahyan Yeasin, so.; Mark Sobolewski, sr.
Worth noting: The Red Raiders’ Hein and No. 1 doubles partner Matt Grubbs (who graduated) won a Class 2A sectional championship and won a match in the state tournament. Wells will find another partner for Hein at No. 1 doubles this season. … Geske will be one of the top singles players in the FVC, even as a freshman. … “We will be good at the top of our lineup, but our team success will depend on how well the lower part of our lineup competes,” Wells said.
Coach: Jon Betts (18th season).
Last year’s finish: FVC champion.
Top returning players: Ethan Hulewicz, sr.; Austin Dinh, jr.; Liam Hulewicz, jr.; Augie Nelson, so.; Ryan Fulton, so.
Top new players: Colin Van, sr.; Mihir Rao, sr.; Morgan Kavan, sr.; Rudra Rathod, so.; Soham Kalra, fr.
Worth noting: Two-time Northwest Herald Boys Tennis Player of the Year Thomas Nelson is now at Marquette. The Golden Eagles had back-to-back top-10 state finishes, led by Nelson and last year’s senior class. Justin Cunningham and Jed Sia, who were No. 1 doubles FVC champs and went 2-2 in the state tournament, also were part of that senior class. … Augie Nelson, Thomas’ brother, won an FVC No. 2 doubles title with Justin Brzeski and qualified for state. He is a candidate for the No. 1 singles spot. … “We’ll certainly have a different look this spring,” Betts said. “The lineup will be a balanced mix of experienced seniors and juniors who will be joined by a strong contingent of hard-working underclassmen who have made significant strides in the offseason.”
Coach: Kyle Funkhouser (18th season).
Last year’s finish: Sixth in FVC Tournament.
Top returning players: Nate Neufeld, jr.; Mohsin Rizvi, so.
Top new players: Giacomo Romano, sr.
Worth noting: The Warriors had significant losses between graduation and players moving out of state. Neufeld played at No. 1 singles, and Rizvi was second at No. 2 singles in the FVC Tournament. … Funkhouser said that about nine new players will be competing for starting positions. He expects Neufeld and Rizvi to rotate between No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles, where one of them will team with Romano.
Coach: Willy Stastny (fifth season).
Last year’s finish: Fourth in FVC Tournament.
Top returning players: Jacob Kim, so.; Cole Palese, so.; Jaylin Tucker, sr.; Nolan Frey, sr.
Top new players: Tim Jones, fr.; Mason Bartmess, so.; Evan Seegert, fr.; Brogan Amherdt, sr.
Worth noting: The Wolves will be a young team, but they return their top two singles players (Kim and Frey) and their No. 1 doubles team (Palese and Tucker). Kim was fifth in No. 1 singles in the FVC Tournament as a freshman, Frey was third at No. 2. Palese and Tucker were third in FVC No. 1 doubles, won a Class 1A sectional title and went 2-2 in the state tournament. … “Half of our roster will be underclassmen,” Stastny said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how they can build on their experiences from last year and how they help our younger and more inexperienced players develop. As of now, the top of our lineup will look similar to last year, but it will be fun to see who takes advantage of the openings in the other positions.”
KISHWAUKEE RIVER CONFERENCE
Coach: Walter Shappee (first season).
Last year’s finish: Third in KRC Tournament.
Top new players: Tyler Batt, fr.
Worth noting: Shappee thinks Batt, who plays a heavy USTA junior tournament schedule, will be one of the top singles players in the area. … The Skyhawks have only seven players. Shappee taught for five years at the Crystal Lake Racket Club and is trying to revive the program.
Coach: Erika Kane (seventh season).
Last year’s finish: Fourth in KRC Tournament.
Top returning players: Leo Bankel, jr.; Wyatt Lundgren, jr.
Top new players: Daymein Wancket, so.
Worth noting: The Indians have only four players, so they are just looking at individual growth and improvement.
Coach: Jake Porter (11th season).
Last year’s finish: Second in KRC Tournament.
Top returning players: Vince Perez, sr.; Brett Neuhart, so.; Liam Hanson, jr.; Devon Oliveira, jr.; Carlos Fito, so.; Cooper Pajich, jr.
Top new players: Marc Cheng, fr.
Worth noting: Cheng will step in at No. 1 singles for the Blue Streaks, and Porter says he has the talent to win the KRC Tournament and qualify for the Class 1A State Tournament. … Porter said he thinks this will be the best team he has had in his 11 seasons as coach. Coming back are the Streaks’ Nos. 1, 2 and 3 singles players, along with their No. 2 doubles team. … Neuhart was No. 1 singles last year and Fito was the No. 3. “Rolling out two sophomores and a freshman and expect to get two or three points each match makes for a spoiled coach,” Porter said. “It’s going to take some time to fine tune our doubles lineup. We expect our team to compete for a conference and sectional title.”
Coach: Bart Zadlo (sixth season).
Last year’s finish: KRC champion.
Top returning players: Justin Chase, sr.; Nick Dickson, sr.; Tyler Schroeder, sr.; Kyle Morey, sr.
Top new players: Kevin Ramirez, sr.; Cholo Ferrolino, sr.; Ben Lagerhausen, jr.
Worth noting: The Thunder graduated a large group from last year’s KRC championship team. “We will look to guys with a few years of JV experience to step up and fill in some holes for our team,” Zadlo said. “We are looking forward to seeing the growth of our players and our entire squad as the season progresses.”
Coach: Kevin Lydon (fifth season).
Last year’s finish: Played an independent schedule.
Top returning players: Robert Eshenbacher, sr.; Terry Blades, sr.; Michael Jablonski, sr.
Top new players: Cameron Tiemann, fr.; Thomas Kumm, so.; Max Kraneburg, so.
Worth noting: Lydon said he feels the Hurricanes’ core of seniors brings maturity and strength to their top spots. … “Robert [Eschenbacher] is always a tough competitor, and Terry is super fired up to be playing singles. [Jablonski] has really improved over the winter and I expect him to be our top server. Cameron coming in fresh with great core skills bodes well for this season and also for our team’s future.”