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Mt. Pleasant boys tennis team devoid of veteran talent

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Lori Padilla | For the Daily Courier
Alex Temple — seen here practicing Friday, March 15, 2013, at Mt. Pleasant — is the lone returning starter for the Mt. Pleasant boys tennis team.

Tony Splendore is entering his 39th season as coach of the Mt. Pleasant boys tennis team.

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Monday, March 18, 2013, 12:21 a.m.
 

The Mt. Pleasant boys tennis team is in an unusual position this year.

The Vikings are used to fielding a highly experienced roster filled with veteran leadership. That won't be the case this season.

“It's too early to make any predictions,” Mt. Pleasant coach Tony Splendore said. “I knew we would be a little down this year because you like to have three or four kids coming back. It just so happens that we've had a nice run for a lot of years with good kids coming through the program.

“But this year, we have a lot of green and inexperienced kids, and we're just trying to figure out a starting lineup.”

Sophomore Alex Temple is the only returning starter from last year's team. He played primarily at second doubles last year but will likely move into one of the singles positions. Junior Hunter Rinaldi and freshman Noah Cenkner are strong candidates to be starting singles players.

Junior Jacob Trout and sophomore Brennan Ramela could slot in at singles or could fill spots on one of the two doubles teams. Senior Dalton Bull, and juniors Jeremy Simms and Noah Chovanec are expected to play doubles.

“We have a lot of good athletes,” Splendore said, noting that many of his players are active in other varsity sports. “We've got a lot of new guys, and we're trying to get some experience.”

Traditionally, the Vikings have had a strong tennis program, and Splendore is hopeful that the trend will continue. However, he did note that expectations may have to be tempered going into the 2013 season.

“We have been at the top for so many years, and expectations are high for the boys and the girls teams,” Splendore said. “Our expectations are always high, but this year we may have to have our team goals be realistic and hope to be .500. It will depend on how hard the kids are willing to work.”

But just because the road ahead may be a bit more difficult than usual, the coach definitely sees some promise with his young team. Temple, the team's lone returning starter, also sees big potential.

“I might be the only one coming back, but there are a lot of kids here that have talent,” Temple said. “I think we can surprise some people.”

The Vikings will host Brownsville in their first Section 1-AA match of the season Monday.

Jason Black is the Local Sports Editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com.

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