PHHS tennis returns three singles players


PENDLETON — With the season approaching, Pendleton Heights tennis coach Royce Hammel has some sorting out to do. Both of his doubles teams will have to be retooled because of graduation, but he returns his top three singles players, giving him cause to be optimistic about the 2017 season.

Senior Drew Wilson returns for a second year as the team’s No. 1 singles player with junior Walker Stull and sophomore Kaleb Alumbaugh figuring to reprise their roles as No. 2 and No. 3 players, respectively. Hammel said there will be competition this fall on the team but it’s likely those players will slide into the same slot this season.

“I don’t know how much (Wilson) has been practicing,” Hammel said. “We’ll do some challenge matches and see where the boys line up. I have my lineup set before challenge matches, but I picture that that’s how they’ll line up.”

Hammel said a year of playing every team’s best player will help serve the talented Wilson this year as the team’s No. 1 player.

“His experience, his height — he likes coming to the net, and he’s not afraid of the net,” Hammel said. “He’s quick and has a lot of good qualities.”

Wilson provides the senior leadership for this young team that Hammel said he’s looking for.

“He and Walker are captains,” Hammel said. “He really steps up.”

Wilson is the team’s only senior this season. But with more than 25 players, several of whom contributed last season, Hammel said the team will be competitive.

“Granted, we have some kids back with experience, but we’re going to be young, and we’re going to be raw,” he said. “Several of the younger players have never played before. I would hope for a .500 season. I said that with the girls, and we ended up being 12-8. Hopefully this will be about the same.”

Several athletes figure to compete for the two doubles teams Hammel will need to round out his starting roster. They include Seth Moore, Caleb King, Jack Long, Evan Baugh, David Bailey and Evan Hathcoat.

“I have all my singles players coming back, so that’s a bonus,” Hammel said. “I did lose all my doubles players, so I’m going to need to figure out who is going to fill in those blanks. I was talking to the new guys and told them that most will be playing doubles, and that’s fine. Sometimes you live and die based on that No. 2 doubles team.”

The Arabians open their season at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16, with a match at Frankton Junior-Senior High School.

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