Falcons look to add another title, but UC and RS are nipping at their heels

    Based on what has transpired thus far this season, Winchester could be primed for another boys’ sectional championship on the tennis courts.

    But much could happen in the next two weeks, and even then, Union City, Randolph Southern and Jay County might have something to say about who advances in the state tournament.

    Sectional fields are not as big in the state tennis tournament, largely because there aren’t as many schools who have tennis as an option in athletics.

    And because tennis is deemed an individual sport – which is a bit argumentative because there is, in fact, an overall state team champion – Randolph County’s three schools with a tennis program are plugged into a field that also includes Class 4A Jay County.

    That hasn’t stopped Winchester from winning three straight titles, and that’s one reason the Falcons will enter the tournament – barring any unforeseen happenings between now and then – as the early favorite.

    More significantly, Winchester has defeated the other three teams in the field this season, although not in the fashion of a sweep. An upset here or there could push Union City or Randolph Southern over the top.

    In previous matches, Union City’s John Carpenter, the No. 1 singles player for the Indians, has has the upper hand against every opponent in the field, although it hasn’t been easy against Winchester’s Alex Pegg as the two have hooked up for some good battles.

    Winchester’s Nick Dunica has a great shot to win at number two singles, as well as Ross Culy at number three singles. Both Dunica and Culy were Randolph County champions and have turned back their potential sectional opponents handily during the season.

    Randolph Southern’s Colton Fisher and Jake Good look to defend their sectional title from last year and will enter the sectional this year as the top dogs. Fisher and Good have been a strong pair all season and are  the Mid-Eastern Conference champs.

    Winchester has the edge at the number two doubles spot behind Levi Slusher and Drew Loyd, the Randolph County champs.

    Although Winchester would seem to have the edge on paper, Union City coach Doug Jefferis points out the balance in the field this year.

    “We haven’t had a great year by our standards, but we still have a legitimate shot to win the sectional,” Jefferis says. “This is the closest I’ve ever seen the parity between the schools. It’s anybody’s sectional.”

    Randolph Southern coach Kyle Good has the Rebel program as competitive as it had been in awhile, and he feels like the Rebels are right in the mix.

“Honestly, I think anything can happen at the sectional,” Good said. “Winchester is probably the favorite, but it just depends on who gets hot. Union City and Randolph Southern have the X-factors where the matches against Winchester have been very competitive. All we can do as coaches is to try and get our kids mentally ready to play and then turn them loose on the courts.

    There’s plenty of tennis to be played before the sectional begins, including a match between Winchester and Jay County that was played Wednesday night.

    Winchester and Union City will play in the Tri-Eastern Conference Meet on Saturday, Sept. 28 at Union City.

All-Randolph County Boys’ Tennis Team

Position    Player(s)    School

No. 1 Singles    John Carpenter    Union City

No. 2 Singles    Nick Dunica    Winchester

No. 3 Singles    Ross Culy    Winchester

No. 1 Doubles    Colton Fisher    Randolph Southern

        Jake Good    Randolph Southern

No. 2 Doubles    Levi Slusher    Winchester

        Drew Loyd    Winchester

TEC Tennis Meet – Sept. 28 at Union City

    Teams – Union City, Winchester, Cambridge City, Centerville, Hagerstown, Knightstown, Northeastern, Tri, Union County.

Jay County Sectional – Oct. 2-5 at Jay County

    Teams – Jay County, Randoph Southern, Winchester, Union City. (Pairings on Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. on IHSAAtv.org.