Palisades High Boys and Girls Tennis Squads Prepare for City Title Runs
By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
Faced with the possibility of having to share courts and play their seasons at the same time, the Palisades High boys and girls tennis teams will nevertheless begin the 2020-21 season with a similar goal: win the City championship.
While the boys will be pursuing their 12th straight section crown, the girls will be seeking to regain the title wrested away by Granada Hills last fall. The sports are slated to begin simultaneously in the spring season due to delays resulting from the coronavirus.
“In normal circumstances the girls would be halfway through the season right now,” head coach Bud Kling said. “Instead, we’ll hopefully be able to start practicing in November and start playing matches in February. There will likely be some overlap with the boys and we’ll have to do the best we can. Both teams will have a lot of players back.”
All four starting singles players return for the girls—Iris Berman, Noe Winter, Halsey Hulse and Kalea Martin—and Kling said all four have been woring hard to improve their spots in the lineup.
There are 13 new girls trying out for the team (10 freshmen and three sophomores).
Jade Finestone, Emma Akiyama, Anaya Ayanbadejo, Sophie Shumilov, Sarah Slavkin, Nora Morlot, Lexi Much and Claudia Goore are other key returners .
“Granada Hills will be tough as always but we’ll be competitive with them,” Kling predicted. “We scheduled Zoom meetings to talk about what the girls have done over the summer.”
The boys were denied a chance to extend their record City title streak when the season was cut short last spring, but they should once again be deep despite several players graduating and a doubles player transferring.
“We’re solid at the top in singles and we’ll be okay in doubles but we need to solidify our No. 4 singles,” said Kling, who has headed the boys program since 1979 and is the state recordholder for career coaching victories. “Since the normal orientation process didn’t take place I haven’t had a chance too see a lot of the players.
Four new boys are trying out, a sophomore and three freshman.
The improvement of returners like Peter Garff, Noah Zaret, Jex Frankel, Ryan Kanter, Ben Kim, Jeremy Nelson, Souma Hayakawa, Liam Findley and Luke Shuman will be important if the Dolphins hope to continue their reign of supremacy.
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