Sports Roundup

Southern Boys Tennis Team Opens Season With Win Over Wildcats

Apr 11, 2018
Photo by: David Biggy Southern first singles player Tommy Franks delivers a backhand winner during his straight-set victory on April 9.

At some point, whether 42 or 62 degrees, the Southern Regional boys tennis team had to get its season under way. With spring break last week, the Rams had some extra time to practice before anything started to count – as if that mattered.

“The weather has been pretty bad lately and we haven’t been able to practice too much,” said senior first singles player Tommy Franks, who kicked off the new season with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Pinelands’ Andrew Shultz on April 9. “We only had one scrimmage during the preseason, so most of the guys are trying to work out some kinks. It was a great start for us today. This match gave us a chance to get a lot of guys back into the flow of things.”

As a whole, the Rams definitely looked like a team heading in a positive direction after scoring the 4-1 victory against the Wildcats, who are off to an 0-3 start after graduating most of their starting lineup from a year ago. The junior second doubles crew of Jake Henderson and Joseph Dunwoody were the first ones off the court Monday, cruising to a 6-0, 6-0 win, and the first doubles tandem of seniors Burke Flynn and Anthony DelRio – playing together for the college-visiting Sean Distelcamp – weren’t far behind following a 6-4, 6-0 victory.

Sophomore second singles player Eloin Dunwoody earned a 6-2, 6-3 win over Arpit Gainder, before senior Colton Little came up short against Pinelands’ Luke Wiatrowski, 3-6, 6-4, 2-6, at third singles.

“I believe today’s win is the start of something big,” said Franks, who finished 17-6 and ended up third in the Ocean County Tournament last spring. “We’re all positive. We’re all confident. We have a lot of experienced players and a lot of our guys worked hard during the offseason, so I like our chances in the division this season.”

Southern Sailors

Cruise to First Place

On the heels of qualifying for the Mid-Atlantic Championship two weeks ago, the Southern Regional sailing team was back on the water Sunday, April 8, at SUNY-Maritime and the Rams continued to make waves as the season cruise along.

Without the services of regular B Division skipper Tommy Green, the Rams utilized four sailors in the 10-team intersectional event featuring schools from New Jersey and New York and arrived home with the first-place trophy.

Senior Dana Haig and sophomore crew Joe Mrazek took second and first during the first set of races, had solid runs through the next five races and easily swiped the top spot in the A Division. Meanwhile, sophomore Brielle Willoughby and freshman Bridget Green paired together to win the B Division, as Willoughby skippered the first four races and Green worked the skipper position for the final three.

“They were the stars of the day,” coach Steve Warren said the following morning. “Despite being the lightest crew on the water, the girls hung tough when winds kicked up over 15 knots. Brielle started the series with a first and Bridget brought it home with a first in the last race.”

In between those victories, the young duo remained near the top of the fleet throughout the day, ending up five points ahead of the second-place squad to seal Southern’s outstanding effort.

“It was a cold day with crazy conditions on the East River,” Warren said. “With winds that ranged from 18 knots to less than 5, constant wind shifts of more than 20 degrees and a current that ripped through the course all day, the conditions provided great preparation for next week’s Mid-Atlantic Championship in Christchurch, Va.”

Southern Golfers

Win Wildcat Invitational

Despite a battle against brutal wind conditions at Sea Oaks Country Club, the Southern Regional golf team did on April 6 what it’s been doing for years now. The Rams won the Wildcat Invitational, but this time it was a tight finish.

Behind the winning individual effort of senior Caleb Rossi, who fired an 18-hole, 6-over-par 78, the Rams grabbed the top spot on the team leaderboard, scoring a combined score of 336 to edge Toms River North by a stroke. North’s Connor Bekefi, who also scored a 78, took second place on a match of cards, while teammate John O’Donnell took third with an 83, finishing ahead of Pinelands’ Kayla Gutierrez by a match of cards as well.

Southern ultimately finished as the top squad when seniors Chris D’Alessandro and Nick Campanelli each scored 84 and junior Peter Fabian arrived to the clubhouse with a 90, good for 10th place overall. The Mariners’ Dan Lee was seventh with an 85, but Toms River North didn’t place another golfer among the top 10.

The host Wildcats finished third in the team standings with a 368.

— David Biggy

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