The Trojans are building for future success
When a varsity team posts a 4-10 record, it’s rather easy, from the outsider’s perspective, to dismiss the season.
With tennis, like every other sport, it’s the win-loss tally that ultimately determines the squad’s standings. Peel back a layer or two of the onion, though, and you’ll see a more involved story begin to take shape.
Such is the case with this year's North Pocono boys varsity tennis squad.
The official start of the pre-season came on March 6 and the Trojans capitalized on some good weather for a few days before winter returned and blanketed the region with three feet of snow.
The wild weather didn’t just deep-six a week’s worth of practices, it also forced the postponement of North Pocono’s matches against Scranton and Montrose.
Ups & Downs
North Pocono hit the courts with Mike Felins, Adam Long and Tony Zou playing first, second, and third singles, respectively.
Tyler Baldauff and Tim Pickarski steadily occupied the first doubles slot while a rotating band of players moved in and out of the second doubles position through the season.
The Trojans got things rolling at home on March 29 by winning 5-0 over Riverside. At Mid Valley the next day they posted a hard fought 3-2 victory.
NP hosted Valley View on April 3 but suffered a 4-1 loss. A bounce-back followed two days later at Dunmore when the Trojans beat the Bucks 4-1.
The April 6 home match with Abington Heights was postponed, as was the next day’s already-rescheduled venture at Scranton.
Back-to-back 4-3 losses to Honesdale and Montrose put the North Pocono gents at a 3-3 records and 5-0 losses to Scranton Prep and Abington Heights drove them further down in the league standings.
Things got worse before they got better. The up and coming Western Wayne squad dealt the Trojans a heartbreaking 3-2 loss on April 18. Two more shutout losses followed when North Pocono fell to Holy Cross and Delaware Valley. NP was now at 3-8.
The squad picked up a 3-2 win versus West Scranton on April 27 but then lost 3-2 to Scranton following another postponement of that bout.
The Trojans suffered the same fate against Wallenpaupack Area on May 3, ending the regular season for the Trojans.
The lackluster record kept the Trojans out of the district contest for a team title.
However, Mike Felins earned a fifth seed in the singles tournament and Adam Long, ranked 19th, was also in the running for North Pocono.
Both Felins and his first opponent, Paupack’s Tanner Badoud, received byes in the opening round.
Felins took the first set 6-0 and then advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-3 victory in the second set.
He then faced forth ranked Kevin Zhang from Williamsport. It wasn’t easy for Felins. He won 6-3 in the initial set but the Millionaire retaliated with a 6-1 win to force a third round.
Back and forth the two battled through game after game. Ultimately, Felins won 7-6 after a taking the tie breaker 9-7.
The win advanced him to the District 2 AAA semi-finals. There he faced top ranked Bailey Harris from Abington Heights.
Unfortunately, the Comet ace won 6-0, 6-0 and went on to win the District Two AAA championship, but for his efforts, Felins walked away with a bronze medal, something that Trojans Coach Liza Lewis was very happy about.
“Having Mike win a bronze in his senior year was great,” she said. “It was a nice reward for all the hard work he’s put in over the past few years.”
Long posted a 6-1, 6-3 win versus Wyoming Valley West’s Zeke Berger in the first round but was ousted by Delaware Valley’s Tomas Reese, 6-1, 6-2 at the next level of the tournament.
Both Felins and Long teamed up for the district doubles playoffs. Also in the mix were Alec Aversa and Tyler Baldauff.
The fourteenth seeded duo of Aversa and Baldauff met with an untimely early dismissal after falling in the first round to Pittston Area’s Jason Homschek and Mike Mazurkivich.
Felins and Long, however, fared better.
Seeded third and with a first round bye, Felins and Long, partnered up to surpass Paupack’s number one, Tanner Badoud, who was teamed up with the Buckhorns number two single, Zack Cykosky, 6-4, 6-3.
Facing Crestwood’s Nick Andrews and Sachin Patel in the quarter finals, the Trojan duo took the first set 6-4 but lost the second 6-1.
Although they played a hard, Felins and Long met with a 6-3 loss in the final set.
“This year’s boys were a fun to coach and a nice group. We had a lot of seniors this year and it’ll be an almost entirely new team next season,” said Lewis.
“We’ll be starting with a blank slate and bringing in a new bunch of kids.”
Lewis is also excited that the middle school has incorporated tennis into its physical education courses.
She hopes younger students can begin to learn the fundamentals of the game as well as develop a curiosity for the sport that will spur them on to try it as a school sport.
To help attract more students to tennis, Lewis will be teaching two summer sessions through North Pocono Community Education.
With other coaches and some high school players, 5-9-year-olds may attend the June 26-30 camp for beginners at the Middle School from 9-10:30 a.m.
Older students ages 10-14 with some experience can come to the intermediate camp, June 27-30 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
There are fees for both camps and more information can be found at http://www.npsd.org/images/stories/commeddocs/communityed.pdf or by calling the district office at 570-842-1760.