Ian Howard | Staff Writer
Trevor Maxim | Staff Writer

Varsity Boys’ Tennis
– Head Coach: Linda Kirtley
– Last Year’s GMC Finish: Third place
– Coach’s Comment: “This year we don’t have any established doubles teams. So, we’re going to have to see which two players will pair up both skill-wise and mentally to come up with really good doubles combos.”
The boys’ varsity tennis team has high hopes this season, according to Varsity Head Coach Linda Kirtley.

“Our goals for this tennis season are to win the [Greater Miami Conference] and to actually go far in the state team tournament,” Kirtley said.

Although it is only the team’s second year in the GMC, they earned third place. According to Kirtley, the competition in the GMC is numerous.

“In the GMC, Lakota West, Lakota East and Sycamore are the top three teams that we’d have to beat,” Kirtley said.

While many the team will face multiple competitors, there are still internal problems within the team, according to Kirtley. About half of its varsity A team graduated last year and, according to Kirtley; this will hurt the team in aspects of gameplay.

To offset this loss, according to Kirtley, a large new freshmen class is trying out. Kirtley said she is also enacting new workout programs to aid the team.

“Our warm-up will be more aerobic, [and] we have some new drills that we are going to incorporate into our team practices,” Kirtley said. “And we’re also going to be working on second serves.”

Varsity Boys’ Lacrosse
– Head Coach: Randy Hubbard
– Last Year’s Record: 12 – 5
– Coach’s Comment: “We think we can get out of our region and possibly make something happen at the state tournament.”

The boys’ varsity lacrosse team has clear goals for the 2010 season,  according to Head Coach Randy Hubbard. He said there are certain teams that the players are determined to beat for the first time.

“The guys have set up goals that they want to defeat some of the other teams in the city that we haven’t beaten yet, like Indian Hill and St. Xavier,” Hubbard said. “We’ve progressively beaten one or two of [the teams] that we didn’t beat before each year and those are kind of the only two left.”

Hubbard said beyond these goals, the team has its sights set on a post-season run.

Some of the returning seniors this year include Shannon Slattery, Andrew Roussos and Scott Spencer, whom Hubbard said he expects to be leaders on the field. Hubbard said that other key junior players include Eric Hust, Jacob Lucky and Gabe Shreve.

According to Hubbard, the players are talented, but need to have the right attitude in order to succeed.

“I think [the players] have just got to make sure they don’t become complacent,” Hubbard said. “They are pretty good and they are athletic, but sometimes just going out and going through the motions isn’t going to win you games.”

Varsity Softball
– Head Coach: Brian Castner
– Last Year’s GMC Finish: Third place
– Coach’s Comment: “[Our goal is] to get better each day. We want to get better each day and hopefully put ourselves in a place to be successful at the end of the year.”

Varsity Softball Head Coach Brian Castner said he is excited to finish his softball coaching career with a strong 2010 season. Castner said, however, that he is not going to let the finality of the season distract him.

“[This season] is not going to be any different for me,” Castner said. “I’m going to coach them just as hard, if not harder. So, we’re going to go day-to-day; nothing’s going to change.”

Castner said that the graduating seniors this year are an exciting group that he looks forward to having on the team, with seven senior girls returning from the varsity team in 2009. According to Castner, the team is focusing this season on improving, allowing the results to come on their own.

Castner said the girls need to be able to perform at the highest level, even amidst the problems that they encounter during the season.

“We’ve got to make sure that we stick together,” Castner said. “We’ve got to make sure we have great team chemistry, through the high and low times, the ups and downs.”

Varsity Boys’ Volleyball
– Head Coach: Paul Melnick
– Last Year’s GMC Finish: Sixth place
– Player’s Comment: “[When we first entered the GMC] we were about the middle] of the pack to the bottom half. In the last two years, we’ve moved up more towards the top of the pack.”

As varsity boys’ volleyball players chalk their hands this season, their biggest focus will be on volleyball technique, according to senior varsity player Ryan O’Shaughnessey.

“We’re really good athletes; it’s just in volleyball skills, we’re not there,” O’Shaughnessey said.

To achieve the team’s goal of an improved record, O’Shaughnessey said the team will maintain many of the same exercises from last year.

“[Melnick] is doing the same things, it’s just that we have to practice it and keep doing the same thing,” O’Shaughnessey said.

The team will have two main athletic events to showcase their talent, according to O’Shaughnessey.

“There’s the GMC championship that’s just based on the regular season play and then there’s the state tournament, and we just want to do the best we can in both,” O’Shaughnessey said.

The fact that the team has not reached its full potential is a result of the athletic diversity of its players, according to O’Shaughnessey.

“We’ve got a lot of athletes like basketball kids and football kids,” O’Shaughnessey said. “We just [have] to get it all together.”

Varsity Girls’ Lacrosse
– Head Coach: Paul Limpert
– Last Year’s Record: Not available
– Coach’s Comment: “Our goal is always to get to the state final, and that doesn’t change this year.”

The girls’ lacrosse program is expectant of a state championship, according to Varsity Head Coach Paul Limpert.

“Each year we’ve taken one little baby step [toward] getting there,” Limpert said. “Last year we finished a little short of getting to the regional finals and lost to Upper Arlington by a couple goals had we won that game we [would have been] in the state final four.”

According to Limpert, this season marks the maturity of Mason’s program, as the freshmen players are the first to have played since the sixth grade. Along with this, Limpert said that the team did not lose many players from graduating seniors.

“We only lost three seniors,” Limpert said. “But it’s only three out of 12 starters.”

In order to achieve the state championship, Limpert said he suggests a new outlook.

“Our focus is going to be to continue to master what we do on offense,” Limpert said.

According to Limpert, the team is assured in the fact that their relatively infantile program can only get better as the years progress.

“[The Mason lacrosse team] is going to be one year more experienced than last year,” Limpert said.

Despite this, many teams in the Cincinnati area are very strong, according to Limpert. He said that some of the girls in Upper Arlington and Sycamore have been playing since the third grade.

“Upper Arlington has always been a problem for us because they have a very mature lacrosse program,” Limpert said. “By the time they get to high school they’ve been playing since third grade.”

Varsity Boys’ Track
– Head Coach: Chip Dobson
– Last Year’s GMC Finish: First place
– Coach’s Comment: “I’m looking forward to the chance for our guys to go to levels they’ve never been at before.”

The varsity boys’ track team expects positive results across multiple events this season, according to Head Coach Chip Dobson. He said the team’s goal is to capture championships at the Greater Miami Conference, district and regional levels.

Dobson said junior Zach Wills carries high expectations for the 2010 season. Wills was the 2009 state champion in the 3200-meter event and the runner-up in the two-mile event at the 2009 Nike Outdoor National competition.

Other athletes that Dobson said should perform well this season include senior hurdler Taylor Celestin, senior 400-meter runner Chris Lehman, senior high jumper Alex Hamm and senior discus thrower Tom Grant.

Dobson said this variety of will contribute to widespread success for the team.

“I think we’ll be strong in the two-mile; we’ll be strong in the mile,” Dobson said. “I think we’re going to be strong in the 400, and high jump, and discus,” Dobson said.

Varsity Girls’ Track
– Head Coach: Tony Affatato
– Last Year’s GMC Finish: First place
– Coach’s Comment: “I think the one big goal is going to be to win the GMC for the third straight year in a row. That’s first and foremost, and then whatever happens after that happens.”

The varsity girls’ track team has a lasting tradition to uphold this season, according to Head Coach Tony Affatato. This tradition includes eight straight conference championships, in both the Fort Ancient Valley Conference and Greater Miami Conference, eight straight district championships, and six out of the last eight regional titles.

Affatato said that one of the important qualities for the team to have will be diversity among the different events, in both track and field.

“The other key piece to being successful and winning the GMC is being well-rounded in all the events that we’re participating in,” Affatato said. “You know, [we need to] have pole vaulters, have high jumpers have good long jumpers; [we should] be good in the distance events.”

The girls track program this year will have between 140 and 145 total participants, according to Affatato, and the large size serves to benefit the team.

Affatato said the abundance of younger athletes will require cooperation between them and the older athletes, which he said has already started to happen.

“We’re going to have a lot of young kids on our team, so one thing that’s going to have to happen is the meshing of the older kids and the younger kids,” Affatato said. “I think that’s a really important piece to the puzzle.”

 

Varsity Baseball
– Head Coach: Ken Grays
– Last Year’s GMC Finish: Third place
– Coach’s Comment: “As a team, we have just one primary goal, and that is to win the GMC.”

Coming from a history of excellence, the varsity baseball team expects Greater Miami Conference domination this season, according to Varsity Baseball Assistant Coach Curt Bly. In recent seasons, Bly said that varsity baseball has done very well in the GMC.

“We have finished second in the last two seasons — those were our first two years in the league,” Bly said.

The team is aided by senior Scott Klever in this area, who is a First Team All-League Player, according to Bly.

“[Klever] is the pitcher with by far the most experience, so we’re going to need big things from him,” Bly said.

Bly said that there are a few other returning senior varsity starters such as Rhett Durbin and Preston Carr. Despite Klever, Durbin and Carr’s help, Bly said that varsity baseball, a traditionally senior-weighted sport, is greatly lacking in its chief resource after graduating 14 seniors last year.

“So, we’re definitely going to need younger guys to step in,” Bly said. “There are going to be some opportunities for juniors as well as sophomores.”