Sports

Wolves aim at league title repeat

Before and after, and perhaps during match breaks, these guys are polite as can be.

When it comes to serves and volleys, it's all business - and quite a good business, looking at the numbers.

While Sequim's boys tennis squad seeks another league championship - they went 12-0 last season for their fourth undefeated season since 2002 - and to send another slew of players to district and state tourneys, that task looks a bit tougher this season. Rivals Port Angeles and North Kitsap are now 3A schools and look to be formidable foes as the Wolves look to replace graduating seniors Reed Gunstone and Joe Puntenney, both state qualifiers in 2009.

Fortunately for Mark Textor, his crew of racketeers is quite willing to listen, work hard and toss any kind of selfishness away in order to learn - and win.

"Fantastic attitudes, good kids, very coachable," Textor says, presiding over a practice at the high school courts.

Back on the courts is senior Mallory Maloney, who teamed with Gunstone to go 3-1 at the class 2A state tournament for third place.

Also back are senior David Richards and junior Waylon Lam, who combined to go 11-0 in regular season play and qualify for districts, as are senior Michael Lee and junior Byron Boots, who were 6-0 as a doubles team last fall and were 2-2 at districts.

Textor also expects a strong season from senior Duncan Skinner, juniors Evan Hill and Andrew Gunstone and sophomore Donovan Lee.

But, as Textor notes, "We're not very deep. That's a concern."

His concern comes not without merit, as beyond his nine returning players are a junior and five freshmen, many of whom have little or no tennis experience.

That fact would have not played a big role in winning matches overall a few years ago, when Olympic League match formats were three singles and two doubles matches.

In 2007-2008, however, play format changed to three singles matches and four doubles, meaning team depth is critical for winning those crucial league showdowns.

"Before, you'd seldom put an inexperienced player in a varsity match," Textor says. Now, he says, unless a school has a big program, that situation is not rare at all.

In addition, a couple of Sequim's returning players have missed a few early practices and won't be eligible for the first few league match-ups, including the opener Sept. 8 at North Kitsap.

Sequim saw 16 players turn out for the team - down a bit from previous years but enough to make a solid team, Textor says.

"They're learning and eager," he says.



Preview: Sequim High Wolves boys tennis

2009 record: 12-0, Olympic League champs; advanced three singles, three doubles pairs to district; advanced one single, one doubles team to state 2A tourney, tied for seventh overall

Coaches: Mark Textor, head coach (fourth year)

Returnees: Mallory Maloney (sr.), Michael Lee (sr.), David Richards (sr.), Waylon Lam (jr.), Byron Boots (jr.), Andrew Gunstone (jr.), Duncan Skinner (sr.), Donavan Lee (so.), Evan Hill (jr.)

Newcomers: Royhon Agostine (fr.), Kevin Cassal (fr.), Wesley Gilchrist (fr.), Jeremy Huls (jr.), Bill Koenig (fr.), Brandon Payne (fr.)

Outlook: The Wolves may not be very deep but, as in past seasons, this team features enough strong returning players to boast a strong record in the Olympic League. Look for Sequim to battle for a top-three spot.

Key dates: Sept. 22 vs. Port Angeles, Sept. 29 vs. North Kitsap, Oct. 13 at Port Angeles





Boys tennis

Date Opponent Time

Sept. 8 at North Kitsap 4 p.m.

Sept. 10 North Mason 4 p.m.

Sept. 13 at Kingston 4 p.m.

Sept. 15 Port Townsend 4 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Bremerton 4 p.m.

Sept. 22 Port Angeles 4 p.m.

Sept. 24 at Klahowya 4 p.m.

Sept. 27 Olympic 4 p.m.

Sept. 29 North Kitsap 4 p.m.

Oct. 1 North Mason 4 p.m.

Oct. 4 Kingston 4 p.m.

Oct. 6 at Port Townsend 4 p.m.

Oct. 12 Bremerton 4 p.m.

Oct. 13 at Port Angeles 4 p.m.

Oct. 21-22 2A sub-districts TBA



Reach Michael Dashiell at miked@sequimgazette.com.





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