The Journal Gazette
Friday, August 09, 2019 1:00 am

5 To Watch: Boys Tennis Season preview

ELIZABETH WYMAN | For The Journal Gazette

The Homestead boys tennis team won two sets against eventual champion Carmel in the IHSAA quarterfinals a year ago. In a sport dominated by Indianapolis-area schools, the Spartans are putting Northeast Indiana on the map. Kerry Mumma's team lost just one player from its top seven spots, and the Spartans look hungry for more.

5 teams

Homestead: The Spartans finished a historic season with a 21-2 record. David Heiney at the No. 1 singles spot graduated, but the crop of underclassman signals a bright future.

Leo: Eli Herran and Isaac Steiner went out on top. The now-graduated pair defeated Carmel's Timmy Dixson and Garrett Lloyd 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 to win the boys tennis doubles individual state championship in 2018. Can that momentum dribble onto the younger Lions?

Bishop Dwenger: The Saints won their 16th sectional title in 2018. They took a tough 3-2 loss to Carroll in the next match but seem to be making strides to get that first regional championship.

Carroll: The Chargers got knocked out by Homestead in the regional championship a season ago, but they celebrated their first sectional title since 2014 in the process.

DeKalb: The Barons won their 17th sectional championship in 2018 and first since 2015.

5 individuals

Luke Stoffel, Carroll: Stoffell played the No. 2 singles spot as a freshman and sophomore. He was even better at the No. 1 spot last year. He was named to the all-state singles first team by the Indiana High School Tennis Coaches Association in 2018.

Andrew Meier, Homestead: Meier finished his incredible freshman season with a 25-1 record. He won his state match, 6-0, 6-1. Being just a sophomore, Meier's going to create many headaches in the postseason for years to come.

Bryant Zitlaw and Tim Steiner, Homestead: The No. 1 doubles pair was incredible in the Spartans' state run. They finished with an 21-5 record and were named to the all-state doubles first team.

Nolan Ogle, East Noble: As a freshman, Ogle and his doubles partner Michael Bender finished 15-6 and 6-0 in the NE8. Ogle should be one to watch for years to come.

Cole Shifferly, Bellmont: Shifferly was named singles honorable mention by coaches association as a freshman last season. He had an impressive 21-5 record before falling to Perry Meridian's Sajin Smith in the individual singles quarterfinals.

5 storylines

Coaches ranking: Leo, Carroll and Homestead all finished 2018 within the top 30 coaches association team rankings. Will any other area teams break onto the list in 2019?

Classroom success: Four area high schools (Adams Central, Fremont, Carroll and Warsaw) were named all-state academic teams in 2018.

Panthers drought? With 16 sectional titles, Snider is one of the more accomplished Fort Wayne schools in boys tennis. But the last one came in 2001. Will the Panthers ever get back to their heyday?

Camel success: The Greyhounds won the 2018 state tile for the third consecutive year and 10th overall.

Opening day: Aug. 17 is the first tennis match of the season for teams around the state.

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