Kroner's boys' tennis storylines
The boys’ state tennis tournament starts Thursday at 14 sites in suburban Chicago. There are 128 entries in singles and 128 doubles teams seeking state titles during the three-day event. Executive sports editor Fred Kroner looks at storylines for area qualifiers:
Central steps up
Central’s Maroons outdid even themselves while winning a fifth consecutive sectional crown.
Coach Scott Davis’ team advanced both of its singles entries and both of its doubles teams to state.
During the first four years of the current streak, Central qualified more than one singles and one doubles entry once, but not its entire team since this run started in 2010.
“The one thing that sets this team apart from some of the others is the depth we have,” Davis said. “Hayden (Dodds) plays No. 6 (singles) for us, and he is such an excellent player. When the two doubles teams play in practice, it is anyone’s guess as to who might win that day.”
The No. 1 doubles team of Michael Yoo and Gabe Mitchell earned a 17-32 seed at state. They are two-time qualifiers who were 3-2 last spring at state. They were 4-0 at sectional, winning all four matches in straight sets.
Once again, the Maroons’ headliner is senior Austin Aten, a four-time singles qualifier who is seeded in the 17-32 grouping.
“I am honestly a little disappointed Austin didn’t get a 9-16 seed, but knowing Austin, this will just motivate him even more,” Davis said.
In his first three years at state, Aten has captured three wins in each season.
Dodds, the team’s other singles entry, is a first-time state qualifier.
“Everyone is playing some of their best tennis of the year, so hopefully we can carry it over to success up north,” Davis said.
Three in a row
Centennial’s Sunny Singh advanced to state for the third consecutive year in singles. His career record at state is 6-4, with four of those wins coming last spring. Like Aten, he is seeded in the 17-32 grouping.
Teammate Andrew Scaggs is returning in doubles but with a different partner. Scaggs qualified with Patrick Kearney. A year ago, he went with Peter Kim. The Chargers didn’t have a doubles contestant in 2012.
St. Thomas More senior Travis Tressler — the only player who has beaten Aten in singles this spring — is making his third trip to state. Tressler qualified as a freshman and as a junior, going 1-2 both years. His opening-match draw is freshman Erik Weiler of Edwardsville.
The winner will likely get Blake Oslan, a 17-32 seed from North Shore Country Day in Winnetka.