Greensburg Salem tennis team taking step up in stride
After finishing 12-2 and winning the Section 1-AA title last season, the Greensburg Salem boys tennis team was forced to move up to Class AAA this year due to the WPIAL's biennial realignment.
While a move up might lend itself to a rebuilding season for most teams, the Golden Lions have taken the promotion in stride and are among the leaders in Section 1-AAA this season.
“The competition level is a couple steps up that you get with the move because some of the schools that we play now have a lot of players on their team that play in clubs,” coach Rich Lewis said.
After beating Kiski Area and Norwin, Greensburg Salem has been able to ease its transition to Class AAA with the help of a senior-laden team.
“From last year we didn't know what to expect because we moved up a section,” senior Tyler Brinton said. “We heard about how hard Class AAA was.”
With 10 seniors on the roster, including all seven starters, members of the Class of 2013 have led the way for the Golden Lions.
“If you look at other teams, they have a really good first singles and a really good second singles and after that they drop off,” Brinton said. “But we have the depth because of all the seniors that we have.”
Lewis added: “The key to my team is they hate to lose and they work hard. They come to practice every day, and after practice is over, they're still on the court because they really take the game seriously.”
Of those seniors, Brinton, Dillon Boggs and Jordan Shaw start as the top three singles players, respectively.
“Tyler is one of those guys that every time he steps on the court he wants to win,” Lewis said. “You can't tell him he can't win because he has that attitude, and it's a good attitude, and he's probably one of the leaders on our team.”
Boggs has been a tough matchup for all of his opponents this year, while Shaw has proven to be a much improved player this season.
“This year was his breakout year,” Lewis said of Shaw. “He's been almost perfect this year with matches within our section.”
With a junior varsity squad comprised of players that Lewis said he believes are ready to step in and contribute next season, the future is bright for the Golden Lions at the Class AAA level.
But for Lewis and the rest of the Greensburg Salem boys tennis team, they want to win now.
“Our goal is to win the rest of our games,” Lewis said. “We need to win now.”
Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.