WHEELING — Wheeling Park boys’ tennis coach Tim Ickes wanted to really challenge his team on Monday against solid competition.
He got that competition in St. Clairsville and the Patriots rose to the challenge as both the boys and girls defeated the Red Devils, 6-1.
“We have a great group of kids,” Ickes said. “We’re young and it’s nice to see them grow and mature on and off the courts and it’s only been a week-and-a-half.
“We played some good competition (Monday) in St. Clairsville and that’s really what we needed to push ourselves, especially for University next Thursday and Brooke. We needed to push ourselves here (Monday) and we got that from them.”
Leading the way for the Park boys was junior Braeden Keen, who defeated Alex Douglass in the No. 1 Singles, 8-4.
In the No. 2 Singles, it was junior Wyatt Andrews upending St. Clairsville’s Evan Holstein, 8-6.
“Our two juniors in Wyatt and Braeden are doing a really good job of leading us,” Ickes said. “They are kind of setting the tone. We have such a deep group so it’s cool to see — and they are having fun.”
The depth of Park could be seen in the No. 3 Singles won by Ryan Quickel over Brandon Kralovic, 8-2, and in the No. 4 Singles where freshman Nic Trischler defeated Anthony Verardi, 8-6.
Trischler and fellow freshman Grant Kenemond also pulled out the victory in No. 2 Doubles, 8-6, over Kralovic and Verardi.
Quickel and Gavin Goodrich were victorious for Park with an 8-6 win in No. 3 Doubles, as well.
“Trischler and Grant are really good,” Ickes said. “Nic is playing as our No. 4 but he could be a No. 2 or No. 1 on a lot of teams. He has already developed and gotten so much better mentally and skill-wise.
“He had to battle back (Monday) but it was a growth match where he could learn from his mistakes and slow his pace down and speed it up at the right time. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard other parents ask ‘he’s only a freshman’?
On the girls’ end, Park received victories from their No. 2 Rachel Simon over Keilen Weidman, 8-2, their No. 3 Towne Moores over Emma Poe, 8-1, and their No. 4 Taylor Broadwater over Brooke Chamberlain, 8-3.
The Patriots also swept the girls’ doubles action as Moores and Taylor Andrews won the No. 1 match, 8-6, while Simon and Rhiannon Christmas captured the No. 2 Doubles event, 8-0, and Broadwater and Kayla Clatterbuck took home the No. 3 victory, 8-2.
“It was a nice day and a good win,” first-year Park girls’ coach Chalmer Moffett said. “We’ve been playing well overall, so it’s pretty exciting. A lot of these girls have been playing for a long time. They’ve been taking lessons their whole lives and Wheeling has a pretty good tennis culture. I like to joke with them and say it’s 100 percent my coaching but they all have pretty good tennis backgrounds and they all make me look good.”
The Red Devils’ only wins came from the girls’ No. 1 Singles event where Kadaira Fordyce defeated Christmas, 8-6, while the No. 1 Doubles team of Douglass and Holstein defeated Keen and Andrews, 8-6.
“It’s always really competitive when we play Park and the matches reflected that again (Monday),” St. Clairsville coach J. C. Yevincy. said. “All of the matches were close and I’m happy with the way they played.”