Eaton tennis ready for season

By Oliver Sanders -

EATON — The Eaton High School girls tennis team recently began practicing for the 2016 fall season.

Last year, the team finished 12-8 overall.

Coach John Hitchcock begins his fourth season with the girls tennis team. He inherits a team which is rebuilding after a very successful 2015 season.

“Last year’s team was one of the strongest seasons we’ve had, period,” said Hitchcock. “We finished fourth in the league, just missing third place by two points. We had a really good year, but it was top heavy with seniors who all graduated. Seven players in all either graduated or are not returning for 2016. So all of our varsity spots will be filled with brand new faces.”

Five seniors were lost from 2015. Second team All-SWBL Tess Flynn was first singles for three years in a row. Rebecca Wolf was second singles, and Maria Kern contributed on the courts as well. Kyra Houle and Honoka Sato were Honorable Mention First Doubles for the Eagles.

What Hitchcock does have in his favor is an influx of new players from the JV level that has been strong for the past few years. “They are kids whom we have coached for a number of years so we know who they are and I’m eager to see what they can do on the courts.”

Despite the loss of veteran players, the newcomers look promising for the Eagles. The team is centered on seven sophomores, three juniors, two freshmen, and one senior.

Sophomore Quinlyn Sittloh, junior Madison McKinley, senior Allison Cave are figured to compete for the top spot. Juniors Marlee Kern and Katelyn Niehaus have been with coach Hitchcock for a number of years.

“These six girls will be key to our success,” said Hitchcock. “Victoria Studebaker is a sophomore who is raw, but she’s hitting the ball well. We are waiting on the physical from freshman Brianna Ward who really looks promising. Another sophomore, Samantha Gramaglia, has played quite a bit of potential to be a good doubles player.”

Other players on the team are sophomores Addie Bell, Jenna Cohorn, Lydia Fadden, Haley Lawson, and freshman Anna Wible.

“We have 13 total players on the team; for being the only coach, this is a manageable number that has depth but isn’t too much to handle,” added Hitchcock.

The Eaton Eagles girls tennis team kicks off on a furious start with three consecutive days of regular season competition. The first match is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 17, at home against Lehman Catholic. Thursday, Aug. 18, is another home match against Miami Valley. Friday, Aug.19, is a road trip to face off against SWBL foe Northridge.

By Oliver Sanders

Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH

Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH