Park to Rely on Jones, Jorden
By JOSH STROPE
WHEELING — Both Wheeling Park boys’ tennis coach Tim Ickes and girls’ coach Stephanie Sada said their rosters are wide open as the regular season approaches.
But they both are pretty confident on their top spots.
Jared Jorden is the only returning player on the boys’ team that made it to Charleston for the state tournament last season and he will lock down the No. 1 Singles spot.
A senior, Jorden has held down the top spot the past three years and won his first-round matchup in the state tournament before losing to eventual state champion J.J. Mercer of Huntington.
“Jared is really helping me out, helping me see some of the other players’ weaknesses and helping give them a taste of what they are going to see throughout the season,” Ickes said. “He is really helping to bring their level of play up.”
The only other returning player is junior Ryan Payne, who played No. 3 Doubles and No. 4 Singles as a sophomore.
“He is providing us a lot more this season,” Ickes said of Payne. “Last year he was young and inexperienced but he has really worked hard and has gotten tons better. He enjoys tennis and you can tell he is having a lot of fun.”
Others looking to claim spots are junior Trip Meredith and three freshmen — Jitesh Pujarah, Ben Ridgewell and Jett Thomas.
“The freshmen have tons of athletic ability,” Ickes said. “They are going a good job of keeping the ball in play and keeping the point going.
“We want to get back down to states and getting a doubles team is a main goal for us. We expect a strong showing the the OVAC as well.”
While Ickes will be leaning on Jorden, Sada will be putting a lot on Abby Jones.
Jones went to the state tournament last season and Sada has high hopes for her this year at No. 1 Singles and No. 1 Doubles.
Also going down state was the No. 2 Doubles team of Riticka Reddy and Juliana Pond.
Behind Jones, the positions are not set with Reddy, Pond, Abigal Mulhern, Matilda Weeks, and Hinal Pujarah. Newcomers to the team are Emily Tork and freshman Ashley Trischler.
“We were runners-up in the OVAC last season to Morgantown and we hope to continue to improve,” Sada said. “We want to send more girls down state this year. All of our girls are pretty evenly matched and we are excited to get thing started and see how we stand up against everyone.”
March 18: at Morgantown/University 9:30 a.m.
March 21: at Oak Glen 4 p.m.
March 22: at Weir 4 p.m.
March 24: Cambridge (boys) 4 p.m.
March 27: at Linsly 3:30 p.m.
March 28: at John Marshall 4 p.m.
March 29: Brooke 4 p.m.
April 3: at Linsly 3:30 p.m.
April 5: St. Clairsville 3:30 p.m.
April 6: at Brooke 4 p.m.
April 7: Oak Glen 4:30 p.m.
April 10: University 4 p.m.
April 11: Morgantown 4 p.m.
April 12: B-U/JM 4 p.m.
April 19: Weir 4 p.m.
April 20: Indian Creek 4 p.m.