GLEN RIDGE, NJ--Veteran coach Lisbeth Crouse was looking forward to a good boys tennis season at Glen Ridge High this spring.
We all know that the season was canceled, but Crouse wanted to let the fans know how special this year's team was. Glen Ridge had a good nucleus of athletes returning to the courts this spring.
"Practice had been going well," recalled Crouse, herself an educator in the Glen Ridge school system. "We had good weather (in early March) and our lineups were beginning to take shape."
The NJSIAA ordered all spring sports to cease operations around mid March, with the hope that the student-athletes could return to competition in a month, or so. In early May, it was determined that schools would not re-open for the 2019-2020 school year, and thus the spring sports would also have to give up their dream of competing.
"As a teacher, it's been tough, as well," said Crouse. "It's a different type of teaching and it takes a lot of work to get things done properly. But it's what has to be done, and we're doing our best. As a coach, I was able to keep in touch with the players (via Google Classroom) and tried our best to keep them ready for a season."
The team captain for the Ridgers in 2020 is Keegan Quinn, who will attend the University of Notre Dame this fall. The other seniors are Mattias Ehataman and Spencer Collins. Ehataman will be going to the University of Waterloo, in Ontorio, Canada while Colins is headed to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst this September.
During the early practice sessions in March, the singles positions had been set, with Jan Bobrowski, a junior, playing first singles, Tyler Blanz, a freshman, set for second singles and Ehataman earning the third singles spot.
"We were just getting ready to have our kids compete for the varsity doubles," said Crouse.
Among the doubles candidates were Quinn, along with juniors Grant Ghaemi, Joe Liotta and Ben Woertz. Sophomore Ethan Tipping was also playing well and had a chance for a spot on a doubles team.
"We were pretty excited about the upcoming season," said Crouse. "We had a young team this season, but with some varsity experience (off 2019). We were scheduled to play in the (Super Essex Conference's) Liberty Division. It's good that a lot of the kids will be back next season, but I feel badly for our seniors."
There was a good turnout of athletes out for the team this spring. The team's roster also featured team captain Jamie Newman, a senior, juniors Jack Bronstein, Mert Erden, Austin Kulik, Aidan Murtha, Max Pavan, Tommy Pennington, Lucas Rovalino, Jack Svetik and Segun Wallace.
The sophomores are Noel Andrews, Gavin Chung, Connor Schubert and Steven Shepps while freshman class featured Zachary Anwar, Andrew Fong, Andrew Guardiola, Ryan Hirsch, Avery Kim, Anwell Meng, Colin Pennington, Maxwell Rao, Jack Snyder, Aiden Vellucci and Connor Vigna.