Junior Joseph Brailovsky reached the top of the mountain last year by dominating all of his competition in the Maryland State Championships and winning the boys’ singles title. This year, he’s back at it again with a supporting cast that should be even better.
Last year, the boys’ tennis team finished second in the county, losing by a single point to the Whitman Vikings in the county championship. Despite the high finish, this year’s team is looks even stronger. The Patriots only graduated one senior and benefit from an influx of young talent. According to head coach Nia Cresham, as many as four freshman could earn starting positions, including Daniel Zhang, who is already penciled in as the fourth singles player.
“We have a whole lot of new guys that are good and I only lost one starter,” Cresham said. “So my challenge right now is interesting because we have a lot of returning starters that are having to play new positions and some of these new guys are really good.”
In Maryland high school tennis, teams start four players in singles competition and three pairs in the doubles competition. After a competitive tryout period earlier this month, the team’s talent across the board began to show.
“We’re deep,” Cresham said. “I’m very happy with how the team looks now. We’re really young- we have a lot of freshmen and sophomores.”
The boys enter the season with two goals- winning the county title in the first weeks of May and doing serious damage in the state championships on May 26 and 27. Brailovsky, the returning state champion, is the clear number one singles player on the team and senior Ben Fellman has separated himself from the pack as the number two singles player. After those two, all of the other spots are up for grabs. The team also hopes to get a doubles pair and mixed doubles pair into states, in addition to senior Miranda Deng, who qualified for the state championships during the girls’ regional championships last fall.
The Patriots will have their hands full for the next couple months with 11 matches against teams from around the county, spanning from mid-March to late April. The biggest match of all figures to be on Apr. 26, when the Patriots host the returning county champions, the Whitman Vikings. Whitman returns all of its starters and will prove stiff competition for the Patriots, from the regular season meeting to the postseason.
On Mar. 13, the Patriots held a scrimmage against the River Hill Hawks. The scrimmage played out to the Patriots’ favor, a 6-1 victory. The lone loss was in the singles competition, as Fellman, in place of Brailovsky, was unable to win his match against River Hill’s top player.
The ceiling is high for this year’s team, with a returning state champion in Brailovsky, a perfect balance of experience and young talent, and an abundance of potential. When the regular season opened on Mar. 21 at the Sherwood Warriors. The team dominated and won by a huge margin of seven matches to none on Sherwoods home court.
The team’s next match is on Mar 27 at 3:30 P.M. at Blair.