Columbus East hasn’t won a boys tennis sectional since 2011, but with an experienced crew coming back, the Olympians might have the firepower to challenge crosstown rival Columbus North this season.
East lost No. 1 singles player Seth Meyer from a team that went 17-4 and lost to the Bull Dogs in the sectional final. But the Olympians figure to have a pair of fourth-year varsity players and two more three-year varsity players at the top of this year’s lineup.
“It’s pretty strong,” East coach Jim Stone said. “It’s a pretty good nucleus. We have four or five guys that have played a lot of tennis, played a lot of tournaments, and some of these guys have been together. We should be pretty competitive. It will be a lot of fun.”
Leading the Olympians this year will be seniors Alex Galle and JoJo Woolwine. Either Galle, who played No. 1 doubles last season, or Woolwine, who played No. 2 singles, likely will be at No. 1 singles this year.
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Whichever one of those players doesn’t end up at No. 1 singles could play No. 2 singles or No. 1 doubles. Juniors Matt Furnish and Sammy Woolwine, who have been doubles players the past two years, also could play No. 2 singles or No. 1 doubles.
Junior Neeraj Pandita, who played some No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles last year, likely will be at No. 3 singles. Juniors Austin Guse and Daniel Kuhlman are the probable No. 2 doubles pair.
“It will take second doubles a little time to gel and play together, but they’re pretty motivated,” Stone said. “The key will be who ends up at first doubles. We have a lot of singles players, but not a whole lot of doubles players.”
Beyond that top seven, East has five freshmen who may eventually push for varsity spots.
“We have a little scrimmage against Shelbyville on Wednesday, so it will give us a chance to see how we do with some doubles teams and things like that,” Stone said.
Stone was pleased with the offseason of work his team put together.
“They looked good,” Stone said. “The upperclassmen, Alex Galle and JoJo, did a good job of leading everybody.”
The Olympians will face a big test early when they open the season Aug. 17 against perennial power Bloomington South.
“We have a tougher schedule,” Stone said. “When it comes to conference, (Jeffersonville) and Floyd (Central) will still be pretty good, and I think New Albany will be better. We’re always trying to win the sectional. But we’re not worrying about the matchups and are each week trying to set new goals and trying to get better.”
The 2015 Columbus East boys tennis schedule:
Aug. 17;Bloomington South;5 p.m.
Aug. 20;at Greenwood;5 p.m.
Aug. 24;at Bedford North lawrence;5 p.m.
Aug. 25;Brown County;5 p.m.
Aug. 27;Madison;5 p.m.
Sept. 2;at Columbus North;4:15 p.m.
Sept. 3;at Jennings County;5 p.m.
Sept. 9;at East Central;5:30 p.m.
Sept. 10;at Batesville;5 p.m.
Sept. 16;Greensburg;4:45 p.m.
Sept. 17;at Seymour;5 p.m.
Sept. 19;East Invitational;9 a.m.
Sept. 21, 23, 25;HHC Tournament;TBA