SPOTSWOOD, NJ - It's never easy when half of the starting lineup graduates. However, that is the position Daniel Krainski, head coach of the Spotswood High School boys varsity tennis team, finds himself in for the upcoming 2016 season.
Krainski has been the head coach of the school's tennis program for the past four years. He is also a gym teacher at the high school and coaches the wrestling team during the winter.
William Chludzinski, second singles, Hasan Abbasi, third singles, Tejveer Singh, first doubles, and Kevin Wakefield, second doubles, all graduated last year, leaving the door open for returning players and some new ones to make their way into the varsity lineup.
Jake Engstrom is a senior this year and a four year letter-winner for the tennis team. Engstrom played third singles his freshman year, second singles his sophomore year and moved up to first singles last season. Krainski noted that Engstrom's experience at the first singles position was one of the team's strengths.
"Robert Nason and Dushyant Singh will battle for two singles spots with a few younger players pushing to make that lineup," Krainski wrote in a pre-season information form submitted to Tap Into Milltown/Spotswood. "John Tobia, Matt Chludzinski and Derek Miller are among the strong players that could crack the varsity singles lineup. Challenge matches will tell who will fill the remaining two doubles spots."
Nason is also a senior and began his varsity tennis career playing second doubles as a freshman. He moved up to first doubles as a sophomore and played first doubles last season as well. Singh is another senior. He saw action as a second doubles player during his sophomore and junior years.
Tobia and Chludzinski are both sophomores who played second doubles for the team last year. Miller is a freshman this year.
Other newcomers to the tennis team for the 2016 season are freshman Ryan Miller and sophomores Stephen Gardner and Matt Evanego.
The tennis season will open up for the boys on April Fool's Day when they travel to Edison to take on Bishop Ahr for their first away match at 11 a.m. They will then head to Kennedy Park in Sayreville on Saturday, April 2 for a 10 a.m. match against Sayreville War Memorial High School. Their first home match will take place on Wednesday, April 6 at 4 p.m. against South Amboy on the Summerhill Road courts.