Bar remains high for boys’ tennis team at Holmdel


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By Matthew Rocco

The Holmdel High School boys’ tennis team may be young, but it appears the Hornets will be back in the driver’s seat this season.

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After cruising to a state group championship in 2016, the Hornets are one of the favorites to return to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Tournament of Champions, and they are counting on a combination of veterans and young talent to make it happen.

The Hornets, who won all but one flight during their Group II run last year, have one of the Shore Conference’s most talented singles players in Justin Wain back in the mix. The junior made the most of his promotion from first doubles as a sophomore, even advancing to the third round of the NJSIAA singles tournament. With a successful year at first singles under his belt, Wain will lead the charge this spring.

“Justin set the bar high last year. He has high expectations for himself, and obviously we do, too,” head coach Chuck Chelednik said. “Obviously, he’s one of the top kids here in the Shore. He’ll push himself to get better.”

At second singles, senior Harrison Lin is coming off a 22-1 season. Lin, the only returning senior in Holmdel’s starting seven, brings leadership to the team.

“The younger kids look up to him,” Chelednik said.

Sophomore Brian Chu moves from second doubles to third singles for the new season. In doubles play, Chelednik has paired returning doubles player Alex Tsai, a sophomore, with Jose Angel, a senior transfer student from Colombia. Freshman Allen Lu and junior Kevin Yan will play second doubles.

Chelednik noted that Holmdel’s depth should be a strength, saying he had a talented group of freshmen to choose from as he filled out the lineup before this week’s season opener.

“We’re in the same position as last year. We have a lot of talent that is younger,” he said. “It always comes down to doubles. As the year goes on, I hope they play better, and when it comes time for states, they are ready to roll.”

The Hornets are looking to defend their streak of back-to-back Group II titles. The school has also won eight consecutive Shore Conference and Monmouth County tournaments.

Holmdel opened the 2017 season by hosting Manalapan High School April 3, followed by a match at Red Bank Regional High School.

The Hornets will be back on the court April 6 against Saint John Vianney High School. The match will begin 3:45 p.m. at Holmdel.

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