WHEELING - Two West Virginia Region One singles champions head up an experienced, but youthful, Wheeling Park boys' tennis team this spring.
Junior T.J. Muldrew was the No. 1 singles winner in the regional event while sophomore Shaun Hunley captured the No.2 singles title. Both players combined to earn the No. 1 doubles crown and advanced to the semifinals in the state tournament.
Muldrew had an overall record of 15-6 while competing against most of the top singles players in the Ohio Valley. Hunley was 12-6 as a No. 2 singles participant. He and he Muldrew combined for a 12-7 record in doubles competition.
Also returning to the lineup for Coach Marissa Forshey's team are Scott Kuthy, the only senior on the boys' roster, junior Rishi Chandrasekhar and sophomores Mitch Baranski and Austin Evans.
Two newcomers are sophomores Zach Marra and Aaruran Chandrasekhar, both of whom of are hopeful of getting their share of court time this season.
''We are still very young but we have plenty of experience," stressed Forshey, who is confident enough in the Patriots veterans that she set some lofty goals for her second season as coach. ''Hopefully we can win the regional championship and take a lot of our kids to the state tournament. The depth on our roster is much better than it was a year ago. Right now we are having daily challenge matches for positions, although I expect T.J. to retain his No. 1 singles position."
While Muldrew reached the semifinals in singles play at the state tournament, Hunley was ousted in the quarterfinals. Rishi Chandrasekhar finished with a 9-9 record in fourth singles division, while in doubles play he teamed with Kuthy for a 4-5 record.
Baranski was 10-6 with Jake Felton as a No.3 doubles tandem last spring as they reached the semifinals in the OVAC and Region One events.
The Wheeling Park girls' team enjoyed a very successful 2011 season, winning the Region One title and placing second in the highly competitive OVAC championships.
According to Coach Debbie Pickens, the outlook is just as promising this time around.
''With all of our starters returning to this year's line-up, we are anticipating another great season,'' Pickens said. ''Our top four singles players qualified for the state last year and two of our doubles teams advanced to the semifinals.''
Pickens is again counting on a difficult schedule and the OVAC tournament to help prepare the Patriots for their state tournament run.
Returning letterwinners are seniors Chelsea (C.J.) Petrini, Alli Hone and Ellen Gompers; junior Megan Randolph and sophomores Emily Capehart, Lexie Patterson and McKenzie Rodgers. Junior Carly Arensberg is the newcomer on the roster.
Petrini went 10-1 during the regular season as Park's No.1 singles player, reaching the OVAC and Region One finals. She also qualified for the state in the No. 1 doubles with Hone as her partner. In singles play, Hone was 6-5 in the No. 2 bracket.
Patterson and Capehart also turned in some impressive statistics during their freshmen seasons. Patterson, Park's No. 4 singles participant, was a perfect 10-0 during the regular season, then won OVAC and Region One titles. She advanced to the state semifinals before finally losing a match.
Capehart finished 8-3 in the No. 3 singles but made a bigger splash as Patterson's doubles partner in the second division.
They combined for a 10-0 regular season mark before winning the Region One No. 2 doubles championship. In the state tournament they advanced to the round of four.
WHEELING CENTRAL 2012 BOYS TENNIS SCHEDULE
Mar. 23: at North Marion 4 p.m.
Mar. 24: at Fairmont Senior 9 a.m.
Mar. 24: at East Fairmont noon
Mar. 27: at Linsly (B) 3:30 p.m.
Mar. 27: Linsly (G) 3:45 p.m.
Mar. 29: Wheeling Central3:15 p.m.
Mar. 31: Morgantown (at Brooke) 9 a.m.
Mar. 31: University (at Brooke) 2:30 p.m.
Apr. 2: at Oak Glen 1 p.m.
Apr. 3: John Marshall 3 p.m.
Apr. 9: St. Clairsville 2 p.m.
Apr. 10: Linsly (B) 3:45 p.m.
Apr. 10: at Linsly (G) 3:45 p.m.
Apr. 11: at Wheeling Central3:15 p.m.
Apr. 14: at Morgantown 10 a.m.
Apr. 14: at University noon
Apr. 16: at John Marshall 3:30 p.m.
Apr. 17: at Brooke 4 p.m.
Apr. 21: at Parkersburg South 10 a.m.
Apr. 21: at Parkersburg noon
Apr. 23-26: OVAC at West Liberty TBA