It’s hard to believe, but the Tyrone boys tennis team is just a few days away from being scheduled to be on the court for a match for the first time.
The Golden Eagles have three letterwinners returning in the 2019 season in seniors Caden Brooks and Noah Irvin, and junior Caleb Orr. However, they also lost a pair of key seniors from last year’s team in Paul Lemaire and Ethan Vipond. The pair served as Tyrone’s top-2 singles players, but the senior duo really made their mark in the District 6 Class AA Doubles Tournament, where they were champions a year ago.
Lemaire and Vipond went on to take third place at the PIAA Class 2A Tournament last season.
Spring sports always have a tough time with preseason practice, and it is no different for Golden Eagle tennis. Tyrone only has two weeks of preseason practice before their first meet, and they didn’t get outside for the first time until early this week.
“It’s been a little rough with the weather,” said Golden Eagle head coach Randy Irvin. “We’ve just been conditioning so far. We’re getting used to the cold. It’s tough. It’s not an ideal situation, but that’s what you deal with in spring sports.”
Last year’s team, which went 8-7 in meets, have just two starters back from last year in Irvin and Brooks, and one more letterwinner in Caleb Orr, but there’s much to be optimistic for Irvin in his seventh year as the team’s head coach.
“We have two out of the top five starters from last year returning for our team,” said Coach Irvin. “We have a very athletic, and hardworking team. We have good depth in our lineup and the first year guys are picking the game up very quickly.
Irvin doesn’t know what the starting lineup will look like on Monday for the first meet, but he still has some goals to achieve for the season.
“We have a lot of new kids this year,” said Irvin. “It’s going to be a challenge, but we’re hoping to win the Mountain League. That’s always our goal. That doesn’t change. These guys are definitely looking a lot more improved from last year, so who knows? We’ll do the best we can. The standard doesn’t change.”
Irvin will be assisted by Jim Klesius.
The Golden Eagles will take on Altoona at the Tyrone tennis courts on Monday at 3:30 p.m. to begin the season.
Seniors: Caden Brooks, Noah Irvin, Jacob Orr. Juniors: Tyler Beckwith, Jeremy Byers, Benedict DelBaggio, Nicholas DelBaggio, Caleb Orr. Sophomores: Leighton Ahlert, Dean Grassi, Nick Lewis, Garrett Martin, Kelton Raabe, Andrew Savino, Jack Wagner.