The Washington Times-Herald

September 27, 2013

Hatchets optimistic heading into tennis sectional

By Mike Grant
Times Herald

---- — By most measures this year’s version of the Washington boys tennis has been a success. Heading into sectional the Hatchets finished second in the Big 8 Conference to perennial powerhouse Jasper, boast a season record of 17-3, and captured two invitational crowns. “We’ve been on a pretty good roll,” said coach Jason Johnston. “Now, we want to win a sectional.”

This year’s Hatchets have had plenty of senior leadership starting with the No. 1 doubles team of Tyler Stoll and Corey Thompson. “Corey started the season playing number two singles and then about seven matches into the season we moved him to strengthen our doubles and maybe pick up an extra point when sectionals came around,” said Johnston. “It took them a couple of matches before they got comfortable together, but now they look really good.”

With Thompson going to doubles another senior stepped up. “Jacob Luttrell has moved into the No. 2 singles and played well,” said Johnston. “We’re also pleased with the play of junior Michael Ramsey at No. 3 singles.”

Lucas Miller is No. 1 singles. “He has had a good season,” said Johnston. “He is a sophomore and sometimes gets overpowered by some of his older opponents, but he has won 12 matches against every other schools best players.”

Junior John Harner and sophomore Jake Bedwell round out the squad at No. 2 doubles. “Bedwell and Miller are the first guys to come up through our Quick Start Program that we started several years ago,” explained Johnston. “It’s basically Little League for tennis. They play on smaller courts with smaller rackets, less lively balls. Those kids are now moving into high school. We have athletes with experience with having a racket in their hands.”

The result is also a deeper squad than in the past. There are 17 players on the Hatchet tennis team. The reserves have lost only one match. “In the past we were lucky to have enough guys to field a varsity team,” said Johnston. “We have challenge matches where some of the younger guys try to get varsity time. There is a lot of internal push in practice and that makes everyone better. We have four or five guys on the reserve squad that could play varsity at a lot of schools around here. Some of them have even worked their way into a few varsity matches and had success.”

Sectional play begins next week. The Hatchets’ sectional field includes Pike Central, Vincennes Lincoln and Vincennes Rivet. “We look at the records and who beat who, and we feel pretty good about our chances,” said Johnston. “The only team that beat us during the season is Rivet and our kids were in most of those matches. We feel like with the internal improvement through the season and our revamped lineup we have a good shot of getting past them this time. After taking second in the conference we’d really like to end with a sectional victory.”