Tennis blog: Westminster boys, girls trending toward title defense

The Westminster girls are favored to repeat as Class 3A tennis champions this spring.

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The Westminster girls are favored to repeat as Class 3A tennis champions this spring.

The Westminster boys and girls tennis teams are continuing their trek toward defending their Class 3A state championships.

The boys are 17-1, their only loss coming to the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tenn., considered to be the best high school team in the country. Westminster has won 22 state tennis championships and lost no seniors from last year’s team.

The girls are undefeated, a mark that includes a win over reigning Class 7A champion Walton. The girls have won 21 state championships and taken three of the last four titles.

In addition to a roster full of talented players, part of the reason for the success enjoyed by the Westminster boys can be attributed to the team atmosphere that has been enhanced and encouraged.

In a sport in which many of the top players are skipping the high school season in order to concentrate on individual tournaments, Westminster coach Ralph Geeza has built a culture that allows players the freedom to play their USTA events but has them longing to be part of the high school team.

“I had one of our former players come back to visit last week, and he said he missed the banter between the guys giving each other a hard time, supporting each other,” Geeza said. “You don’t get that when you’re playing tournaments. You get to stay in a hotel room with your mom and dad.

“In high school, you have teammates who are rooting for you. And as much as these guys go to their own practice sessions during the week, they continue to come to practice because they love being a part of the team.”

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The Westminster boys have lost only one match this year and are favored to repeat as the Class 3A state champions.

Credit: Special photo

The Westminster boys have lost only one match this year and are favored to repeat as the Class 3A state champions.

Credit: Special photo

Combined ShapeCaption
The Westminster boys have lost only one match this year and are favored to repeat as the Class 3A state champions.

Credit: Special photo

Credit: Special photo

The boys are led at No. 1 singles by sophomore Charlie Burdell. Geeza said, “He just grinds it out. He has tremendous power from the groundstrokes, great volleys when he comes in. He’s just got the whole all-around game.”

The starting lineup also includes junior Evan Le, another powerful player, at No. 2 singles, and either freshman Rian Merchant or sophomore Ryan Sager at No. 3. The No. 1 doubles team is Jack Burdell, Charlie’s twin brother, and junior George Mattie. The No. 2 team is made up of senior captains Noah Turbes and Alex Egoavil.

The girls open at No. 1 singles with senior Ann Guerry, a powerful player who has been on the varsity for four years. She will play in college at Yale.

Ashley Piedad, a junior, is undefeated at No. 2 singles and will likely move up a spot when Guerry graduates. Freshman Shea Pettit has played No. 3 singles and is also unbeaten.

The No. 1 doubles team is made up of seniors Allison Gryboski and Cydney Day, with sophomore Chiara Krishna Reddy and junior Kelly Sanchez holding down the No. 2 spot.

“We’ve got some really strong players on the team, and now it’s really starting to come together,” coach Liesel Good said.