Locals Seeking Spots In State Tennis Tourney

Fresh off an OVAC boys’ team championship, the Wheeling Central Maroon Knights are in prime position to defend their West Virginia Class AA/A Region I tennis crown today at Parkersburg City Park.

The Knights returned three of their four singles players from last season, and newcomer Jordan Sorge has performed admirably.

Three of Central’s singles players drew the top seed in their respective positions, while Jeremy Jao rated the third seed at third singles.

”I think the boys have a very good chance at winning the regional,” Wheeling Central coach Peggy Dailer said. ”We have a lot of the top seeds and they’ve all worked very, very hard.”

Hugo Andreini at No. 1 singles, Victor Greco at No. 2 and Sorge at No. 4 give Central three players in prime position to make their way to the finals.

Andreini and Jao pair together in No. 1 doubles, with Greco and Sorge competing at No. 2 and Chris Bucon and Neil McCormick rounding out the lineup at No. 3 doubles.

On the girls’ side, the Maroon Knights aren’t nearly as experienced as their male counterparts.

Alex Greco, the team’s No. 1 singles player, was not seeded and drew a tough, first-round match against St. Marys.

Cait Edge, likewise, was unseeded at No. 3 singles, while Natalie Palmer drew the third seed at No. 2.

The girls’ lone No. 1 seed is senior Crystal Kleeh at No. 4 singles. Kleeh has only played doubles up until her final season, but has come on strong, finishing runner-up in the OVAC Championships.

”She’s come on very strong and has played well,” Dailer said of Kleeh.

Weir has two strong participants in the singles’ competition in third-seeded Julie Larch at No. 1 singles, and Jessica Sikora in No 2.

Parkersburg Catholic will likely be Central’s main competition on the boys’ side, while the Crusaders’ girls will be favored.

Class AAA

The Class AAA coaches got together Sunday and in a move to plan for any inclement weather, the coaches decided to start the tournament a day early.

Wheeling Park, John Marshall and Brooke played any of their first-round matches that pitted their players that featured two local players. The same thing happened at Fairmont State University for the remaining teams.

”We decided to get a few matches in early in case we do have bad weather, this will help speed things along,” Wheeling Park coach Bronson Shanley said of the coaches’ decision.

Park figures to be in the chase for the team title, along with the favored University and Morgantown on the girls’ side. Shanley admits a team title is a possibility, but his main concern is qualifying as many players to the state tournament in Charleston as possible.

All of his players, in both doubles and singles, garnered No. 3 seeds, with the top two spots being taken by players from either of the Monongalia-county schools.

Park has an experienced team, with singles’ players Tierra Waldrum (No. 1), Ellen Freeman (2), Ali Prather (3) and Tiffany Waldrum (4) all back from last season. Tierra Waldrum and Prather team together in No. 1 doubles, with Freeman and Tiffany Waldrum at No. 3 and Emily Ellwood and Kaitlyn McKitrick at No. 3.

On the boys side, John Marshall figures to be in the running for the team title along with Morgantown.

The Monarchs have a strong nucleus with singles’ players Corey Holt, Jared Patrick, Tyler Stan and Stefan Riggs.