Scouting DuPage and Fox boys tennis
Hinsdale Central, New Trier and Barrington took the top three spots at last year's Class 2A boys tennis state tournament while Benet was second to Latin at the Class 1A tournament.
Here's a look at some players and teams to watch this spring.
AURORA CENTRAL CATHOLIC
Coach Mike Cowen welcomes back 1A state qualifiers which include seniors Elijah Hartford and Adam Hartford and Justin Cebulski and junior Brian Novack.
"We would like to improve on last years success," said Cowen. "We put in hard work in the off-season. We want to win a sectional. We have never done that in school history."
It is a rebuilding season for Colleen Brandner's Hawks. The Hawks, who lose 14 seniors, will rely on 4-year varsity performer Tej Shah. Shah is the top singles player for Bartlett the last four years.
The No. 1 doubles team of seniors Yusaf Ghani and Krish Patel are also back.
Batavia's 11th-year coach Brad Nelson, with a lofty 147-38 mark, returns his top doubles team of Erik Warner and TJ Stras. The duo, who won the Class 2A Geneva sectional, were state qualifiers as sophomores.
Seniors Sriram Swamination, Brandon Knautz and Sanjay Davis along with junior Stuart Murchie return for the Bulldogs.
Junior Andrew Dorman is another to watch.
"We are a young team who was very committed in the off-season," said Nelson, "Stras and Warner gives us a strong doubles team. We want to win 15 dual meets and compete for the conference (DuKane) championship. We want to qualify three or more players for the state (Class 2A) meet."
Young and talented might be the best term used to describe the 2023 Redwings.
Benet, the runner-up in 1A a year ago, returns three sophomores who qualified for state. Patrick Burke was part of the doubles team which finished fourth in the state while Zach Bobofchak was a top 16 finisher in singles. Hugh Davis is seeking a second straight trip to the state meet.
Senior Marcelo Bolivar and junior Alex Brown also bring experience to the 2022 East Suburban Catholic champs. Newcomer junior Michael Campione hopes to break into the lineup.
"We want to defend our conference championship," said Benet coach Michael Hand. "We want to qualify as many players as possible for the state meet."
The Trojans hope to be in the fight for a Fox Valley Conference spearheaded by returning senior Jacob Kantayya, juniors Derek Passaglia, Lewis Johnson and Noah Marrano along with sophomore Bryce Shectman.
Seniors Chris Weber and Zach Mazek junior Nate Deal, sophomore Ryan Dixon and freshman Chris Ptaszek also are working for spots in the lineup.
"We have a cohesive unit that plays smart and plays hard," said coach Amanda Schueltze. "Our players put a lot of time in the off-season, Huntley and PR are strong teams. Jacobs is a perennial power and possibly Crystal Lake Central could be strong. We hope to be in the top three in the conference."
CRYSTAL LAKE SOUTH
With seven players back with varsity experience, the Gators hope to finish in the top half of the Fox Valley Conference and do well in the Class 1A postseason.
Seniors Aaron Koh and William Granzin, juniors Jack Dacy, Alex Smith, Zenn Blaczyk and Andy Huang and sophomore Kai Slonneger solidify the Gators lineup.
Veteran coach Rick Bailey has 10 newcomers to choose from to install in his lineup. Juniors Jonathan Comella, Dan Teetah and Ryan Smithana, sophomores Vlad Verteko and Konnor Lentine along with freshmen Fletcher Kmitta, Cameron Daman, Eryk Bucior, Zeke Boldman and Devin Zieman provide depth.
DOWNERS GROVE SOUTH
The Mustangs are paced by junior Sam Plys. Plys finished in the Top 32 in Class 2A as a freshman.
Plys will be joined in the lineup by returnees senior Sameer Singh and junior Paul Spang.
Downers South, coached by Josh Forst, is a 3-time defending West Suburban Conference Silver champs.
"We want to go undefeated in the conference and send multiple players to the state meet," said Forst.
Chargers coach Yuto Tsukida returns six players with varsity experience.
Senior Caleb Krispin, juniors Nick Miller, Ben Riggio and Braeden Jones and sophomores Esteban Casillas and Jackson Bird are back for D-C.
Senior Nathan Garcia is new to the program.
The Hilltoppers, coached by Sterling Perez, return state qualifier Arya Govula, a sophomore.
Percy Wu also returns while newcomers include freshmen Samuel Hendricks and Ezra Maras, and senior Gary Wang.
Coach Jeff Porto, in his 20th year, returns 7 players from last season: senior Angel Acosta, juniors Victor Hrushka, Damian Micor, Miguel Flores and Michael Melnyk, and sophomores Fernando Reyes and Federico Martell,
Newcomers include freshmen Sean Saltenberger, Piotr Szostek and Kacper Grynch.
Ryan Barabasz welcomes back seniors Drew Cournaya, Jaylen Patel and Carter Cook along with sophomore Tyler Masoncup.
The newcomers are juniors Luke Hogan, Zach Graham, Liam Anson, Gavin Bryant and Pat Coen and sophomores Tyler Hogan and Xander Mercado
The Raiders are competing for a third straight Upstate Eight Conference crown.
Returners for Wade Hardke's group are senior Erik Zeikus and sophomores Jordan Abbott and Jon Park.
Seniors Lazar Prvulov anf Brian Uvodich and junior Miles Kubik are new to the Raiders program
The 2023 Hilltoppers are spearheaded by senior George Bender, who placed 24th in doubles a year ago at the Class 2A state meet.
Back for Glenbard West are Garrett French, Tony Diloreto, Donny Vondruska, Andrew Fanter, Mike Fox, James Gilbert and Reid Fournier.
The Hilltoppers will have to navigate through the rigorous West Suburban Silver Division.
"We hope to be in the top half of the conference," said ninth-year coach Tad Keely. "We look to battle the top teams in the state."
The Whip-Purs, with eight players back with varsity experience, have high hopes for the 2023 season.
Back for Dylan Clark's troops are seniors Shiv Patel, Tyler Yu, Matt Crumlett and Joe Causing. Juniors Elijah Villegas, Caed Stueber and Ryan Regalado earned varsity experience as sophomores. Sophomore Braden Koffen returns with varsity experience.
Newcomers include sophomores Jake Notter, Owen Hahn and Braydon Bowgrenthe.
"This group has worked extremely hard," said Hampshire coach Dylan Clark. "We hope to finish in the top three in the FVC."
Barry Wells, in his 18th season, welcomes back senior state qualifier Ben Hein. Other returnees include seniors Jonathan Stec, Frankie Scarpelli, Colin Stanley, Ryan Kruk and junior Ishaan Trivedi. Newcomers include senior Mark Sobolewski, sophomore Ahyan Yeasin, and freshmen Eashan Cherukuri and Will Geske.
The Red Raiders finished third in the Fox Valley Conference a year ago.
"We are good at the top," said Wells. "Our team's success depends on how well the bottom of the lineup competes."
Jon Betts is a realistic coach.
"Competively we recognize we are not at the same level we have been at the last two years," said the 18th-year coach. "We graduated some all-time great players. We have high character kids who will set the bar exceptionally high."
Sophomore Augie Nelson, who qualified for the 2A state meet as a freshman, is back. Other returnees are senior Ethan Hulewicz, juniors Austin Dinh and Liam Hulewicz and sophomore Ryan Fulton.
Newcomers seeking playing time are seniors Mihir Rao, Colin Van and Morgan Kavan along with sophomore Rudra Rathod and freshman Saham Kalra.
Betts is hoping his 2023 squad can be in the mix for a Fox Valley Conference title.
"Can anyone catch a young and talented Prairie Ridge team?" said Betts. "Huntley has an advantage with top players back. Crystal Lake Central is an interesting team and Cary-Grove has a lot of returning players."
Larry King's troops hope to make some noise in Class 1A.
The Knights return senior Matt Manugas, junior Noah Pawlak and sophomores Luke McEvoy and AJ Faruja.
Attempting to break into King's lineup are seniors Gevon Grant, Lucas Johnson, Jaden Schneider and Ryan Bicker along with juniors Gabriel Delgado and Wilson Love.
The Lancers, who reside in the tough DuKane Conference, return seniors Charles Vallas, Ivan Mladenov and Mikolaj Bratko and junior Jakub Wierzba.
"We want to finish in the top half of the conference and qualify a singles team and a doubles team for the state meet (Class 2A)," said coach Christian Pawlak.
Sophomore Ben Graft enjoyed a special freshman season. Graft finished third in singles action competing in 1A.
"We want Ben to return to state," said coach Brian Cole.
Other Cadets back in the fold are seniors Beckham Dempsey, Blake Draper and Matt Szwaya along with junior Aaron Sidman and sophomores Sam Lin and Owen Theriault.
State qualifiers senior Aadit Gandhi and junior Akshay Baid are back to bolster the roster.
Returners include seniors Pranav Swaminathan, Josh Kadakia, Sailesh Kumar and Riley Teo along with junior Jack Jordan and sophomore Mihir Arya,
Freshman Ameya Tyagi is new to the program.
"Our goal is to win the DVC (DuPage Valley) and the sectional," said coach Kole Clousing.
Coach Heather Henricksen's squad enters the season as defending DuPage Valley Conference and sectional champs.
The Huskies return senior state qualifiers Nathan Lee and Dovy Jasinauskas.
Others back for North are seniors Luke Fernandez, Akash Bansal, Rohish Konero, sophomore Aarush Bhardwaj and Brandon Dumbell.
The Wildcats are simply loaded in 2023.
Coach William Rose's return four Class 2A state qualifiers.
They include seniors Sid Javeri (Top 16 doubles), Divyye Chawra (singles) and Kai Sun (doubles) along with junior Johnny Mou (singles).
Others with varsity experience are senior Vishwa Salem, junior Adi Bansari, junior Rudy Shen and Mohamed Lukman.
Newcomers to the Wildcat program include seniors Matt Chen and Suraj Pilla along with sophomores Evan Yang, Ricky Kim, Evan Yang and freshman Akhil Matham.
"We have a lot of quality players and potential," said Rose, "We hope to get all six teams to the state meet. The top priorities are to enjoy the season and compete for a conference and sectional titles."
ST. CHARLES EAST
Veteran coach Rob Livermore, in his 21st year, returns seniors Quincy Moss and Sam Evans along with junior Tiernan Price. Moss is seeking a third trip to the Class 2A state tournament while Price is looking for a second appearance. Evans, who missed most of his junior with an leg injury, was a state qualifier as a sophomore. Others with experience for the Saints are senior Chris Sloncon and sophomore Alex Sternowski. Newcomer Tiege Donehooo, a freshman, hopes to break into Livermore's lineup.
ST. CHARLES NORTH
The North Stars return Class 2A state qualifiers senior Brady Barnes and juniors Jon Spicer and Noah Bajuk.
Others with varsity experience are seniors Cam and Cole Weddle along with juniors Dan Hokr and sophomore Jackson March.
Sophomores Declan Brown and Ben Goddard vie for playing time.
"We are looking for a strong year," said coach Sean Masoncup. "We think we can compete with everybody. We want to get better every match."
The Spartans, who will compete in the Metro Suburban Conference this season for the last time, will be part of the Chicago Catholic league in 2024.
Tom Castronova's group returns all-conference selections senior Jamie Croll and junior Will Loughman.
Freshman Umar Bajwa is new to the program.
"We would like to do well in our last season in the MSC," said Castronovo. "We want to send many kids to the state meet."
Tommy Kunz is the lone senior back for veteran coach Keith Mills, in his 21st season in Elmhurst.
The Trojans, a solid team in Class 1A, also returns juniors Elliott Matthew and Hendrick Devries and sophomore Luke Tuscherer. Senior Nico Milek along with juniors Andrew Ausmus and Elliott Tandy are looking for court time for the defending Metro Suburban champs.
"We think we have a solid chance to repeat as conference champs," said Mills. "Wheaton Academy is a very good team."
A power in Class 1A, the Warriors are led senior state qualifier Jeffrey Master. Bolstering the lineup are seniors Aaron Wang, Luke Poland and Will Sias and sophomores Eddie Dykema and Elijah Johnson. The Warriors welcome newcomers junior Sal Sarkev, sophomores Caleb Bristow, Christian Hoang and Elijah Arrellano, and freshmen Adel Baldavi, Elliott Pollard and Bill Yang.
"Our No. 1 priority is to win the MSC (Metro Suburban)", said coach Chris Dykema. "We want to qualify as many as possible for the state meet."
The Falcons are led by senior Henry Ros, a two-time state qualifier in Class 2A.
Others with varsity experience for the Falcons are juniors Dylan Wallace, CJ Coppoletta, Bhuharth Sudharson and sophomore Will Arneson.
Newcomers include juniors David Hill, Ben and Sam Kim, Keegan McCarthy, Archer Mathias and sophomore Jack Nelson.
"We want to win the DuKane Conference and be a top three team in the sectionals." said coach Eric Laird. "We are hoping to qualify at least one doubles team and one singles team to the state meet."
Veteran coach William Stanley, in his 21st year as Blackhawks coach, returns a veteran team.
Seniors Gabriel Escobedo, Ben Fisher, Thomas Martin, junior William Hipp and sophomore Josh Hartman are back for West.
Newcomers include seniors Nemesio Bercasio, Cam Cook, Colton Davis, Garrett Glatzhofer and Yoel Paredes.
The Blackhawks hope to finish in the top three of the Southwest Prairie Conference.
"The SPC is a very competitive conference," said Stanley. "We have a strong senior core. We want to be competitive in all matches and send a team or two to the state (Class 2A) meet."
The Dukes return the doubles team of junior Anthony Arnieri and sophomore Nathan Yu which qualified for the Class 2A state meet a season ago,
York also returns seniors Jack Tobin and Rich Wilkins, juniors Evan Chew, Adam Fennell and Bilal Mir and sophomores Brennen Maxiener and Saveen Shah. Freshmen Jason Demott and Kieran Goldstein join the team.
"We have a young team even though we have many returning varsity players," said coach Courtney Bison. "Any placement in the West Suburban Silver is tough."
Top Teams -- Benet Academy, Timothy Christian; York, Glenbard West, Jacobs, Aurora Central Catholic, Wheaton North, Neuqua Valley, Marmion Academy, Batavia, St. Charles North, St. Charles East. Metea Valley, Huntley, Downers Grove South, Naperville North, Wheaton Academy
State qualifiers returning: Zach Bobofchak (Benet), soph; Patrick Burke (Benet), soph; Hugh Davis (Benet), soph;
Anthony Arnieri (York), jr.; Nathan Yu (York), soph; George Bender (Glenbard West), sr; Augie Nelson (Jacobs), soph, Elijah Hartford, (Aurora Central Catholic), sr; Adam Hartford, (Aurora Central Catholic), sr; Justin Cebulski, (Aurora Central Catholic), sr; Brian Novack (Aurora Central), Jr;
Henry Ros (Wheaton North), Sr; Sid Javeri (Neuqua Valley), Sr; Kai Sun (Neuqua Valley), Sr; Johnny Mou (Neuqua Valley), jr.; Divyye Chawra (Neuqua Valley) sr; Ben Graft (Marmion Academy), soph; Erik Warner (Batavia), jr.; TJ Stas (Batavia),
jr.; Jon Spicer, (St. Charles North), Jr; Brady Barnes, (St. Charles North), Jr; Noah Bajuk, St. Charles North, Jr, Quincy Moss,
(St. Charles East), sr; Sam Evans (St. Charles East), sr; Tiernan Price (St. Charles East), jr.; Aadit Gandhi (Metea
Valley), sr; Akshay Baid (Metea Valley), Jr Ben Hein (Huntley), sr; Sam Plys (Downers Grove South), jr.; Nathan Lee (Naperville North), sr; Dovy Jasinauskas (Naperville North), sr; Jeffrey Master (Wheaton Academy), sr;
Top Invitationals -- Benet-Downers Grove South Invitational (April 8); Glenbard North Quad (April 29); Jacobs Invitational (May 6),