Tennis team poised to knock off bitter rival Aviators
Freddie Wilhelm | Staff Writer
After losing out at last year’s state tournament and conceding the last three Greater Miami Conference (GMC) and state titles to the Aviators, Mason Men’s tennis is looking to knock Sycamore off its perch. Coach Mike Reid said that Sycamore would be a big obstacle in the upcoming season.
“(Sycamore has) a terrific program and they’ve beaten us the past few years, but certainly we’re going to focus on beating them this year,” Reid said. “Our number one goal is to win the GMC, and secondly our boy’s team has never made the final four of states, but our long term goal is obviously to win the state championship.”
With Sycamore’s unbeaten record in the GMC over the past three years, the Comets are looking to put their three consecutives 8-1 seasons in the GMC, falling only to Sycamore, behind them. Junior Shashank Singuri said that the team has been focusing on how to defeat their rivals.
“After losing to Sycamore last year, we knew that we had to get better, and we know it’s time for Mason to beat Sycamore,” Singuri said. “We’ve all worked very hard over the summer, and this is the deepest lineup that Mason has had in years, so I think we have a chance to beat Sycamore and win state.”
With the team saying goodbye to two seniors last year, they lost valuable leadership. The team will work to find new leadership in the current seniors and Sophomore Captain Niraj Komatineni. Komatineni said that he expects the seniors and himself to step up.
“I think losing the seniors will be a missing link, but I think Charlie (MacKenzie) and Phillip (Krayterman) will step up to the leadership roles they need to,” Komatineni said. “I really try to push my teammates to win a team state championship. I think the effort during practice needs to be higher than last year, in order to improve and get better every day.”
This season sophomore Shashank Reddy and freshman Saiprakash Goli have joined the team, both highly touted by colleges with Reddy being a four-star recruit and Goli a five-star. Reid said these pickups make the team a stronger contender this season.
“I think the new players give us depth and firepower in the singles position, so then it’s my job to develop the doubles teams. We’re going to have a really deep team, so deep that teams won’t be able to manipulate lineups in hopes of beating us.”
The preseason rankings posted by Ohio High School Athletic Association have Mason ranked third in the state, which is ahead of Sycamore, who is ranked fifth. Krayterman said the team has high expectations this upcoming year.
“I want us to definitely make the final four and have a shot at winning team state,” Krayterman said. “I don’t care about individual states that much. We’re getting two new players who are very good so I think we’re definitely going to be competitive.”