Wave is on upswing; Tribe still formidable
Greenfield senior George Felogloy will compete for one of the top singles spots on his Green Wave team this season.
Greenfield sophomore Brayten Stack is a candidate for one of the top singles spots for thje Green Wave this season.
GREENFIELD, MA (May 3, 2013) Greenfield Vs Holyoke Tennis - Greenfield Senior Pat Crowningshield played first doubles last season but could move to singles this spring. Photo by beth Reynolds
Franklin County’s two Tri-County League entries, Greenfield High School and Turners Falls High School, have high hopes for the upcoming season. The third Franklin County squad, Mohawk Trail Regional High School, is just happy to have a boys’ team that, although unsanctioned by the MIAA, will play whoever will consent to schedule it.
Greenfield and Turners, first-round losers at last year’s Western Massachusetts Division III Team Tennis Tournament, look poised to compete for the league title, which was won by the Indians last year. The other TCL programs are St. Mary High School, Springfield School of Science & Technology and Sabis International Charter School. Pioneer Valley Christian School is scheduled to be the league’s sixth team, but has not been able to field a team in the previous two years, and its status is still unclear this season.
Although the calendar assures us that spring has begun, you’d have a hard time convincing area coaches that that’s the case. Both Turners and Greenfield had to remove tons of snow from the courts and are practicing in less than ideal conditions, making it difficult for the coaches to evaluate their players.
“Last week, the boys tennis team moved over 40,000 cubic feet of snow and ice, just so we could hit soaking wet balls back and forth as a river of snow melt passed under our feet.” offered frustrated Turners head coach David Bulley.”It’s been a crazy week.”
Here is a closer look at the local teams:
Coming off a season in which it finished third in the TCL (4-3) and lost in the first round of the tournament to eventual champion Mt. Greylock High School, the Green Wave is stronger than it has been in years, and head coach Rick Miner is pretty clear in his expectations.
“The past few years, we always had inexperienced players. Now they’ve grown into experienced players. There are no more excuses, and we have higher expectations. Turners is the defending champ, and the best in the league until proven otherwise, but hopefully we will be right there challenging them this season.” he said.
While conditions have not yet allowed for challenge matches that will determine Greenfield’s ladder, Miner expects seven players to compete for the top two spots: brothers George Felogloy, a senior, and sophmore Taris Felogloy, senior Nick Brandl, sophmore Brayton Stack, junior Ben Westerman, senior Patrick Crowningshield, and sophomore Stephan Walker. Walker, who was in Africa last year and missed the season, has particularly caught the coach’s eye.
“He looks stronger, and is definitely in the mix,” said Miner.
Rounding out the Wave roster are sophomores Ethan Joseph, Austin Picard, Elijah Xeno, and Tony Velez. They are joined by freshmen Fahrah Day and Jackson Pellitier, with Pellitier competing for a spot in the top seven.
For Miner, this season is significant because he will be retiring as a teacher next year and his return to coaching is up in the air.
“If I’m not working or doing something that conflicts, I’ll probably continue to coach, but there are no guarantees,” said Miner.
Whatever may happen next year, this year just may be the year that Miner and the Green Wave take it to the next level, and make a deep tournament run.
The Indians will be defending their TCL (7-0) crown minus several seniors from last year, but Bulley is bullish on his team’s chances to repeat and make it deeper into the tournament than its first-round exit last season.
“Turners is traditionally a strong boys’ tennis team and we have every expectation that we will challenge for the league again this year. We lost some very strong seniors, but we have some nice players coming back and a few new surprises.” he said.
The Indians have not been able to set their ladder yet either due to uncooperative weather, and Bulley did not want to speculate before he sees more from his players.
“ I cannot tell you who will be our No. 1,” he reported. “Quite frankly, it could be any one of three and I don’t want to taint the ladder matches with my expectations.”
At press time, the Turners roster is as follows: Returning seniors Deonise Gheorgita, Sam Danford, and Nick Albano; returning junior Spencer Hubert; returning eighth-graders Avery Palmer and Alex Gheorgita; and new junior Jonathan Cagre. The Indians will also bring aboard sixth-graders Brian Poirer and Joey Kochan, who will practice every day but will not be allowed to travel or compete because of MIAA rules.
They will be our good-luck charms” quipped Bulley.
For the second year in a row, Mohawk will field an independent team that will not be sanctioned by the MIAA.
“We got things rolling too late and were scrambling for a coach, so we weren’t able to get sanctioned,” said girls’ coach Christian Austin, who’s overseeing both programs. “We are hopeful that will change next year.”
“This year we hope to play six matches, and it looks like four of those are set, with home and aways with Eaglebrook School and Greenfield.”
The boys team will be led by first-year coach Amber Georges, and will feature a roster of returning players seniors Thomas Aurigemma, Robbie Buoniconti and Tom Damry, junior Eric Shattuck, and sophomore Zach Arfa. New players include seventh-graders Sam Nelson, Ethan Tuttman, and Scott Kugler.