* Editor’s note: This is the last in a 12-part series previewing Davis High’s spring sports.
Since the regular season usually feels like a countdown to the inevitable Sac-Joaquin Section playoff run anyway, let’s tick off some numbers that pertain to the Davis High boys tennis team:
* Six: The number of seniors who are expected to fill out the Blue Devil singles lineup.
* Five: The number of consecutive section titles DHS would attain with a championship this spring.
* Four: The grade that the Devil freshman players were in the last time the locals didn’t win a Sac-Joaquin crown.
* Three: The number of doubles teams Davis coach Dale Hersch must create by mixing and matching a talented group of Blue Devils.
* Two: The number of elite level tournaments on the DHS schedule this year, including a trip to Kentucky later this month.
* One: The singles position senior star Glenn Hull will play for the fourth consecutive season.
As these numbers indicate, Hersch’s guys are in good position as they begin the 2013 campaign as the four-time defending section champs.
The Devils already have completed their annual trip to Fresno for the prestigious California Tennis Classic, where they went 1-3, but handled themselves well in losses that came against the top team in the nation (Menlo) and the No. 1 squad in Arizona (Brophy High).
“I was able to see some (of our biggest competition for the section title) over there in Fresno and it looks like it will come down to us and Jesuit, like it usually does,” Hersch said. “And it doesn’t always mean a lot, but Jesuit played some of the same teams that we did there and we did better than them.
“I don’t want to jinx it, but I wouldn’t bet against us (winning a fifth straight championship).”
Experience won’t be an issue for Davis with six strong seniors manning the singles spots. That group is headlined by Hull, the defending SJS individual champion who is among the nation’s top 200 players.
“Glenn is ranked around 150th in the country, but that’s after taking a lot of time off from national tournaments,” Hersch explained. “If he played more, he would probably be in the top 100. But he doesn’t really need to take that path because he is already going to (play in college at Claremont-McKenna), which has one of the best Division III teams in the country.”
Last year’s No. 2 player Andrew Dumit is back to hold that same slot, but DHS was forced to replace its 3-5 positions after the graduation of Nelson Hosley, Paul Klavins and Russ Richardson.
The third spot will be handled by Isaac Yee, last season’s No. 6, while Phil Glazer — who took last year off from tennis — is back to play at No. 4. The final two singles positions are being filled by Sean Mishra and Isaac Zheng, last season’s top doubles combination.
It’s a six-pack of players who will gain great experience as the team competes in the DecoTurf High School Team Championships March 21-23 in Louisville, Ky. At that tournament — which is contested in the college format with the six singles players also forming the three doubles teams — the Blue Devils will see some of the best teams in the country.
“The guys have earned it and I think they have a good chance to do well,” Hersch said. “It shouldn’t be much tougher than Fresno because the best teams are in California. I think we are right there in the middle of the pack, and we are the first team ever to go from California so we have to represent a little bit.”
While that top six is basically set for the 2013 season — which continues Monday when the locals head to Monterey Trail to open Delta Valley Conference play — the three doubles teams are still a work in progress. But, after watching several different combinations play together in Fresno, Hersch is confident he has the pieces he needs.
“The singles kind of take care of themselves, but the doubles teams take a lot more work to figure out,” said the longtime local tennis mentor. “You have to see who plays well together and how the personalities mesh.”
The group vying for DHS doubles spots includes players of all ages. Sophomores Dan Ferenc — a member of the Devil ski team — Tris Dutta and Scott Lucio are in the mix, as is Chase Kellison, a freshman Hersch says is one of the rare players who come onto the team with an affinity for doubles.
Davis also has Sean Maroney, Manraj Gill, Chris Chinn and Sam Yoder pegged for doubles contributions.
— Reach Chris Saur at [email protected] or 530-747-8047.