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Franklin Regional boys tennis looks to rebuild

| Monday, March 20, 2017, 7:00 p.m.

Franklin Regional tennis coach Howard Fisher is banking on experience this year — even if all of it wasn't of the competitive variety.

It's true he only returns two lettermen from a boys squad that completely swept Section 1-AAA last year, with its team going undefeated in section play at 9-0 (12-3 overall) and individuals winning both singles and doubles championships.

But with two of its main cogs in that wheel gone, as departed senior Rochan Ramesh won singles and paired with Connor Warwick to win doubles, the lack of experience, save for two layovers, is glaring.

“They realize they may not have the same talent or experience,” Fisher said. “But they are encouraged and optimistic they will be able to hold their own and win their share of matches this year.”

If there's a big reason for that optimism, it's the Panthers do have a player who's been groomed to take the No. 1 role. Junior Sean Vannatta is a returning two-year letterman who has made it past the first round of WPIAL singles the past two years. With Ramesh gone, the top spot is his.

“Last year playing 2, I think I have a pretty good idea of who I'm going to be playing this year because a lot of them are moving up, too,” said Vannatta, who said his benchmark is winning 75 percent of his matches. “If I beat them last year, I think I'll be able to do it again.”

The No. 2 and No. 3 singles spots remain up for grabs, as it could be a matter of experience versus unknown talent in junior and returning letterman Everest Yan and sophomore Vineet Madduru.

Madduru comes in untested, but takes private lessons and has some tournament experience.

Senior captain Justin Lindeman comes up from the junior varsity team to play No. 1 doubles with junior Surya Seth.

Additionally, juniors Frank Simpkins and Joey McGinn, and sophomore Joseph Bonfiglio were top JV players.

Devon Moore is a freelance writer.

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