The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 28, 2013

EHS netters to be tested early

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Enid’s girls tennis team will learn in a hurry where it stacks up against the 6A elite.

The Acers open the season Saturday at Jenks, where the field will include Enid’s three biggest roadblocks for a state crown — the host Trojans, Edmond North and Tulsa Kelley.

The field will be similar at Monday’s Union March Tournament.

“There won’t be any weak teams there,’’ said Enid coach Darrell Herndon. “A lot of times we might not see some of these people again. A win or loss here could come back to haunt you or help you when it comes to the regional and state.’’

The Acers will go with a lineup of Alexis Blasi, No. 1 singles; Gabrielle Dick, No. 2 singles; Kathryn Dillingham and Alexandra Dick, No. 1 doubles; and Savannah Blasi and Madison Blevins, No. 2 doubles.

Alexis Blasi was fifth at No. 1 singles at state as a freshman and was fifth at No. 2 singles as a sophomore.

Gabrielle Dick, who will tour Europe with Newk’s Tennis Ranch traveling team this summer, was the state runner-up with sister Alexandra at No. 1 doubles as a freshman last season.

Alex Dick was the No. 2 doubles state champion as a sophomore and finished third at No. 1 singles as a freshman. Dillingham was the state No. 1 doubles champ with Mackenzie Zaloudek as a freshman and the runner-up as a sophomore. She was fourth at No. 1 singles last season.

Savannah Blasi was one of top rated players in Girls 14s in the Missouri Valley last season. Blevins was fifth with Lulu Ruding at No. 2 doubles at state last spring.

Ruding and Mia Goulart will be in a backup position.

“The girls are going to have a chance to be state champions if things go right,’’ Herndon said. “We have as good as chance to finish first as we do fourth, given the circumstances. I just hope things go right for us.’’

The boys, who go to Jenks today and Union Tuesday, suffered a major blow when Daniel Martinez, third at state last year, had to undergo surgery to repair a hip flexor injury. He is expected to be out for the season.

EHS will go with a lineup of Zac Gwin, No. 1 singles; Jason Christopherson, No. 2 singles; Connor Angleton and Blake Young, No. 1 doubles and Tyler Hallett and Koderick Miller, No. 2 doubles. Miller won’t be available for the Jenks Tournament and will be replaced by Zac Kensinger.

Gwin and Christopherson were state qualifiers at No. 1 doubles last year as was Angleton at No. 2 singles and Young at No. 2 doubles.

“Everyone has really improved,’’ Herndon said, “but everyone has to step up a division with Daniel out, which makes it a really tough road for the guys.

“None of these guys have enough information to be seeded for this tournament. If we have to go to the backside, our goal would be to win the consolation championship. That would get them noticed and maybe get them a No. 7 or No. 8 seed in the future.’’

Monday’s snowstorm has kept the Acers and Plainsmen off the courts. That will be a disadvantage since the Oklahoma City and Tulsa area teams weren’t affected as much by the snow.

“These early season tournaments will show how prepared teams are physically and mentally because of the cold temperatures,’’ Herndon said. “You can’t be freaked out because your hand or face is cold. You have to fight through it.’’