After winning the 1A boys tennis state championship six of the last seven years, Palmetto Christian will bring its Lowcountry court skills to 2A.
The Eagles will do so without the leadership of Austin Heinz, who was accepted into the IMG Academy Bollettieri Tennis Program in Bradenton, Fla. “Austin has been a large part of the PCA tennis tradition since his sixth grade year,” coach Dewey Caulder said. “He is pursuing his goal of competing at the Division I level.”
Returning players include two sophomores, Chase Shimakonis and Trey Goolsby, and two seventh graders, Chad Shimakonis and Palmer Smyth. Newcomers include: four seventh graders, two eighth graders, one ninth grader, one sophomore and one senior.
Home matches are played at the Family Circle Tennis Center on Daniel Island.
The Bishop England boys tennis team will rely on a top five of mostly upperclassmen to get past its kryptonite – also referred to as Waccamaw.
Waccamaw defeated the Battling Bishops last season in the Lower State finals. It was the 10th consecutive season Bishop England exited the state playoffs at the hands of Waccamaw.
Coach Kristen Fleming is new to the program, although she’s enjoyed plenty of success with the girls’ program. Fleming said the team’s goals are to win the region and compete for the Lower State and state championships.
She’ll lean on juniors Noah Stiel and Lukas Zalesky, as well as seniors Jack Roberts and Tristan Fletcher. Sophomore Jeff Jones rounds out the top five. Matches against Academic Magnet, Hilton Head, Beaufort and South Aiken are tough tests for the Bishops. “We added additional dual matches this year, so we can be match ready for playoffs,” Fleming said.
Bishop England returns two players from last year’s top five.
Members of the Wando boys tennis team have the benefit of being familiar with each other, even long before becoming Warriors.
“Many of the boys have been playing together for years,” coach Winde Ellenberg said. “They are comfortable with each other and give each other a lot of support.”
Last season, Wando finished 13-3 with a state playoff exit in the second round to Lexington. Ellenberg said the Warriors’ goals are to make it farther than last year and have a chance to play for the Lower State title.
Andrew DaCosta and Robert DaCosta return for their third varsity season to lead singles play. Senior Eric Donald is new to the program but Ellenberg expects him to be “a solid singles player.” Senior Sean Garrett and junior Hunter Scott are a key doubles team.
Matches against Bishop England and Porter Gaud will challenge the Warriors. Wando has scheduled both as preseason and regular season opponents.
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