JOHNSONBURG — The 2016 version of the Johnsonburg boys tennis team may not have a lot of depth, but there is a lot of veterans that have head coach Anna Chelgreen excited for the season.
And the Rams have enjoyed the mild early spring that the area has seen as of late, as most years they don’t get outside until a few weeks into preseason practice. This year, they were outside on the first week.
“Preseason has been great with this beautiful weather,” said Chelgreen. “Last year at this time, we were shoveling snow off the courts. Practicing outside all of week one has really helped us get back into the groove more quickly.”
Johnsonburg has just seven players on the roster this season, with just one senior in Tyler Martonik.
Martonik played in the District 9 Class AA doubles tournament with Mason Walters, who graduated last year.
Chelgreen will rely on Martonik for team leadership this season.
“He’s our sole senior, and has played tennis all four years,” said Chelgreen of Martonik. “Tyler is an all-around great player, and the team already looks up to him.”
Along with Martonik, Chelgreen expects a big season from junior Henry Toncich, who was also in the D-9 doubles tournament a year ago.
“I expect to see Tyler Martonik and Henry Toncich as key players this season,” said Chelgreen. “They’re both starting out strong, and are showing real promise right off the bat.”
Also on the team are juniors Louie Karellas, Theo Schield, Trey Schneider and Amir Zamzam and sophomore Zach Hodgdon.
While all of the players will get plenty of matches throughout the season, Chelgreen is still unsure of where she will place the seven boys in the lineup.
“We definitely won’t have a problem with anyone’s playing time, but I do not have a lineup set yet,” said Chelgreen. “I have a lot of close calls to play out (in preseason practice).”
Chelgreen’s goal right now for the season is to improve on their record from last season after losing a lot of experience to graduation, but still returning a few veterans.
“We lost four seniors and an exchange student last year, but the guys we have left were mostly here last year, too,” Chelgreen said. “Starting the season with a mostly veteran team gives me high hopes, and plenty of time to set more goals as the season progresses.
“I’m really looking forward to this season.”
Johnsonburg opens the season on Thursday at home against Elk County Catholic.
Senior: Tyler Martonik. Juniors: Louie Karellas, Theo Schield, Trey Schneider, Henry Toncich, Amir Zamzam. Sophomore: Zach Hodgdon.