Piecing together an all-county team is tough
I try to see some matches, get out to some practices. I do try my best to see the best.
That being said, I still make mistakes. I may overlook certain individuals or teams. I can't be everywhere, or know everything. I do rely on that information from coaches to help me make good decisions. Sometimes I fail, however.
This year's all-county boys tennis team is loaded with talent. Some of it is old talent (seniors), but a good chunk of it was made up of sophomores and juniors. That bodes well for the future of high school tennis in this county. I had looked forward to seeing how the Division 1 draw at No. 1 singles would play out this season in Midland. You had Ed Covalschi (Eisenhower), Tyler Gardiner (Northville) and Brett Forman (Troy) all in the draw. They were the headliners - all three graduated having won an individual #1 singles state championship.
But beyond that the field was stacked with young talent, some of which was located right in Oakland County, and some of which were on our all-county team. If nothing changes (no transfers, no high-profile players coming into high school tennis, or incoming freshmen I'm not aware of), Oakland County could have a few of the best players returning to the Division 1 draw. I expect Novi's Tim Wang and Rochester Adams' Justin Hyman to be two of the best next year. Don't expect them to meet in a quarterfinal next year like they did last month. They should be top-four seeds. Catholic Central's Michael Dube' should also be a top-four seed. And Athens' Richard Zhang could be a sleeper. One thing I'm hoping is that somehow, someway, Lakeland's Alex Kim gets a shot at competing in Midland. He's a great player who's been stuck in the toughest region in the state these past two years. When you've got players such as Tyler Gardiner, Tim Wang, J.P. Mullane and Michael Dube' in your draw, you've got your work cut out for you.
I explained to a coach earlier today that my decisions when putting the all-county team together are based on what I know, and what I'm presented, when I seek out information from all the coaches heading into the selection process. That being said, some deserving players may be left off the team.
Some of the toughest decisions when finalizing a team are those at the end of the second team. We had some great individual and doubles talent that missed making the team. Some very well may have been deserving of a spot. Take for example, Birmingham Groves' Calvin Greer. He's a very good player who had a good year. He won a regional championship and took a couple of the players on the second team to three sets.
In doubles, it was extremely difficult to decipher who should or should not make the second team. Troy and Andover's top teams were solid and were no brainers. But Stoney Creek, North Farmington, Seaholm and Rochester Adams all had good No. 1s. Stoney Creek peaked at the right time, winning the OAA Red championship and finishing runner-up to a very good Brother Rice pair. North Farmington's Andrew Murtland and Rob Chapekis perhaps should have been on the second team, but I was unaware of a win over Birmingham Seaholm's Jason Mondry and Ben McDermott, who did make it. I wish I had five slots instead of four. But I cannot take anything away from Mondry and McDermott. They won OAA White and regional championships. A great season for sure.
Nevertheless, it was another great season of high school tennis and I want to thank everyone who helped me cover it along the way. There's always room for improvement, though. I still only hear from about half of our coaches - if that. There's no reason every coach shouldn't be calling in his/her match results. I don't care if you're from an elite school, or a developing program. Every kid deserves to read his name in the paper, or on MIPrepZone. Have a great winter and we'll see all you tennis lovers in the spring!
Labels: Alex Kim, Andrew Murtland, Ben McDermott, Brett Forman, Calvin Greer, Ed Covalschi, Jason Mondry, Justin Hyman, Max Fliegner, Michael Dube', Richard Zhang, Rob Chapekis, Tim Wang, Tyler Gardiner