Tennis players from Santana and Helix high schools stepped on the Sultans’ court Thursday for their 2011 opener, with both head coaches confident of season success. Santana boys coach John Lelevier thinks his team will again vie for a league title even though his varsity is down to five seniors. Santana won the league crown last year with a 11-3 record. “We’ll be in the mix,” Lelevier said during his team’s match with Helix Charter High School.
Lelevier’s top singles players are senior Kevin Clark, junior Wes Henderson and senior Ian Davies. Top Sultan doubles units are expected to be senior Matt Rassmussen and senior Garrett Sageman, senior Paul Colera and sophomore Trace Collins, and sophomores Michael Threets and John Bodor.
Also optimistic is Helix coach J. Diaz, whose varsity squad of 14 players has 10 seniors. Diaz, a reserve police officer in the La Mesa Police Department, has coached the Scotties since 2006. While he sees Steele Canyon team ending up on top in the Grossmont Hills League, he expects his team to swing it out with Valhalla for the second slot. Helix will play 15 matches, with league play beginning March 22 against rival Grossmont. Because of construction at Grossmont, the crosstown rivals will share practice courts this season.
Diaz says the top Highlander singles players are seniors Roger Fong, Ryan Chau and McHale Cartacino. Top doubles teams are expected to be seniors Neil Solidum and Octaviano Ramirez, seniors Kevin Tran and Vincnt Tran, and senior Billy Au and junior Elton Ledet.
“We have a strong team,” Diaz said, “but we have a lot of work ahead of us. They have a lot of heart. They understand that their education is No. 1, but they put it all on the table for us.”