Vikings hope seniors can carry tennis team to state |

Vikings hope seniors can carry tennis team to state

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

South Tahoe High boys’ tennis coach Justin Clark doesn’t need a dominant player to feel confident about his 2009 team.

In past years, the Vikings have thrived with talented players like Jimmy Roberts and David Grand in the fold. The Vikings will approach their upcoming season with an experienced core of seniors and depth all the way to the freshman level.

“From one to 16 they are solid players, can play and help the team,” Clark said. “They are a great group of kids to work with, and they can go as far as they want. It’s so nice to see how hard they are working.”

In recent seasons, qualifying for the postseason has become the norm for the Vikings, who compiled a 7-4 record a year ago and advanced to the region quarterfinals.

“I’m expecting a top-four finish, but our goal is the top two,” Clark said.

The reason for Clark’s optimism is his collection of seniors, who include Michael Weber, Cameron Chase, Jordan Zager, Nick Kushner, Jake Daum and Derek Garofalos.

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“I think we’re going to have a really strong team and hopefully we’ll make it to state,” Weber said. “It’s going to take more dedication, more hard work than any other team. We’ve been showing a lot of effort, no one’s complaining, we’re running good and we have a good, positive attitude.”

Junior Phillip Gaston also is a seasoned player and sophomores Kolton Van Pelt, Grant Jones, Francisco Marin, Gregory Baghdikian and Colton Marchesseault know their way around a tennis court.

Clark’s large sophomore class includes a number of players challenging for court time, including Jack Percival, Bryan Holmes and Miltaiye Vasquez. New to the program are junior Michael Bott, sophomore Ty Wescott and freshman Hayden Bronken.

Grand was the Vikings’ top singles player last year, winning 20 of his 26 matches. Chase, a regional qualifier; Weber and Van Pelt are being counted on to play singles this season.

“It’s up to Cameron and I to pick up the slack and win all of our matches,” Weber said. “We’ve been watching (our previous top players), especially Jimmy, and he really made us want to work harder and to be better. Now it’s our time to be the Jimmy Roberts that the freshmen and sophomores can look up to.”

STHS begins its 10-match season against Sparks on Tuesday in South Lake Tahoe.