2019 H.S. boys' tennis preview capsules
ECC DIVISION I
Coach: Susan Welschock (11th season)
Key returnees: Jr. Finn Powers, Sr. Eric Gu, So. Sujesh Kurumbail, Sr. Sumeet Kamal, Sr. Jonathan Tan, So. Guillem Colom, Jr. Ethan Stewart.
Top newcomers: Fr. Aditya Kabra, Jr. John Glander.
Outlook: The Vikings, fresh off a perfect 12-0 season in 2018, attempt to win a "baker's dozen" in 2019 — a 13th consecutive ECC divisional title. Gone are No. 2 singles player Davon Chen and Conrad French, who teamed with Sujesh Kurumbail to win the ECC doubles title, but Kurmbail returns along with Powers, who won his first ECC singles title last season. Gu, a member of The Day's All-Area team, will play No. 2 singles and Welschock said, "we're excited to integrate our incoming players with our seasoned returnees to further solidify East Lyme as one of the best in the Eastern Connecticut Conference."
Coach: Andrew Small (3rd season)
Key returnees: Sr. Noah Kennedy, Sr. Aidan Sullivan, Sr. Max Cartier, Sr. Nathan Kawolski, Sr. Ron Pfisterer, Sr. Andy Trinh, So. Camden Celtruda, Jr. Tommy Zhu, So. Alex Johnson.
Top newcomers: Fr. Ian Straub, Fr. Calvin Lupo, Fr. Timothy Lynch, So. Aidan McLean, So. Kyle Conley, So. Jacob Peil.
Outlook: The Falcons hope to reverse last year's 5-8 record and remain competitive in ECC Division I, which includes East Lyme, New London and NFA. No. 1 singles player Mathew Krick was a major loss to graduation, but Small will rely on a veteran senior class to lead a promising group of freshmen. "The players are motivated to prove that his year will have a different outcome," Small said, who said the Falcons have adopted the motto "Building Something Special" at Fitch.
Coach: Roger Desir (6th season)
Key returnees: Sr. Zack Skrabacz, Sr. Charles Rockenson, Jr. Giuseppe Conte.
Top newcomers: So. Wesly Paulo, So. Sebastian Jan Michel.
Outlook: Skrabacz, who reached the ECC tournament singles quarterfinals last season, returns to lead the Whalers, who are coming off a solid 10-9 season and expect to remain competitive in Division I.
Norwich Free Academy
Coach: Jay Berard (2nd season)
Key returnees: Jr. Tony Du, Jr. Helec Huang.
Top newcomer: Fr. Jack Lacey.
Outlook: Berard continues the rebuilding process in his second season with a more veteran roster that will be bolstered by Lacey, who will step into the No. 1 singles spot. Huang also brings experience to the roster and Berard calls Du "a fierce competitor," adding, "their presence will give us some chances to win matches."
ECC DIVISION II
Coach: John Adriano (5th season)
Key returnees: Sr. Jacob Stiger, Sr. William Michelson, Sr. Sean Bessette, Sr. Kyle Remmert, Sr. Graham Johnstone, Sr. Jack Ramsdell. Jr. Filip Aubrecht, Jr. Alex Mann, So. Quinn Hamilton.
Top newcomer: So. Nathan Gonzalez.
Outlook: The Bears, who won the ECC Division II title a year ago and finished 12-4, are a senior-dominated team led by captains Stiger, Michelson and Bessette. Michelson reached the ECC singles final last season while Adriano is still trying to sort out his lineup because Stonington has so much experience. "We have a number of seniors who have played many matches over the last three years," Adriano said, who has added Westbrook and Newington to his non-conference schedule. The Bears are joined by Waterford, Bacon Academy and Woodstock in Division II.
Coach: Ralph DiSaia (17th season)
Key returnees: Sr. Alex Watterson, Sr. Elias Picinich, Jr. Fadi Hage, So. Kevin McEntarfer, So. Julian Perez.
Top newcomers: Fr. Gabriel Parent, Fr. Enzo Guarnieri, Fr. Gabriel Arevalo.
Outlook: The Lancers expect to bounce back from a rare losing season (5-9) in 2018. Waterford has an excellent mix of veterans and some exciting newcomers, and DiSaia expects to field "a solid squad and competitive in the ECC peaking for the ECC tournament and state tournament."
ECC DIVISION III
Coach: Jay Bazinet (16th season)
Key returnees: So. Joey Burton, Jr. Simon Diette, So. Sam Curcuro, Sr. Cole Dirico.
Top newcomers: Jr. Fabian May, Fr. Julian Mileski, Fr. Matt Bourguignon, So. Ian Loy.
Outlook: The Colonels, who went 13-2 and finished second in Division I last season, graduated 10 seniors, including All-Area singles players Nate McCracken and Brandon Donovan and the All-Area doubles team of Chris Charette-Trevor Hutchins. Ledyard moves down to Division III this season and joins Montville, St. Bernard, Killingly and Lyman Memorial, and Bazinet will have to be patient as his young players gain varsity experience.
Coach: Meg Fournier (2nd season)
Key returnees: Sr. CJ Jaskiewicz, Sr. Ryan Gallagher, Sr. Jason Chen, Sr. Cheuk Hei Chan, Sr. Tony Lin, Jr. Aaron Nonalaya, So. Jae Seung Kim, So. David Baukus.
Top newcomers: Fr. Ethan Thomas, So. Steven Chen, So. Aiden Meislitzer, So. Jason Zhong, So. AJ Hintz.
Outlook: The Indians expect to more competitive this season, especially in Division III, with a veteran cast led by seniors Jaskiewicz, Gallagher and Chen, who will occupy the top three singles spots. "We have a lot of top players returning and newcomers eager to play," Fournier said. "We are determined to improve and have some fun along the way."
Coach: Bill Rayder (1st season)
Key returnees: So. George Danes, Jr. Connor Wyman, Jr. Ted Wayland, Jr. Nick Fava, So. Emerson Colwell, So. Tim O'Brien.
Top newcomer: Fr. Mike Kleir.
Outlook: Rayder, who coached the Wildcats for 15 seasons from 1981-1995, returns this spring along with a veteran team that he believes can challenge for Shoreline Conference and Class S state titles. Danes, a member of The Day's All-Area team in 2018, is being challenged for the No. 1 singles spot by freshman Kleir, while Wyman and Wayland figure into the single plans along with Colwell.
Coach: Linda Bonadies (2nd season)
Key returnees: Sr. Reese Berman, Sr. Alexandros Tsipouras, Sr. Ben Fauerbach, Sr. Charlotte He, Sr. Arial Sapozhnikov, Jr. Devin Shah, Fr. Dan Sapozhnikov.
Outlook: The Blues, who compete in the SENE as a co-ed program, return 13 players from a year ago led by captains Berman and Tsipouras. Berman will play No. 1 singles while Dan Sapozhnikov, Tsipouras and Shah also played varsity singles last season.