South Whidbey tennis beats Coupeville for third time

Reshuffling the lineup worked yet again for first-year Falcon boys tennis coach Karyle Kramer.

In the second-to-last week of regular season matches, Kramer used another different lineup to sweep Coupeville 7-0 at South Whidbey High School. All seven of the Falcons’ varsity matches won in straight sets.

Part of the winning lineup was junior Taylor Simmons, who recently joined the team. Last week, he beat Taku Yamauchi 6-3, 6-4 at third singles.

Simmons played tennis for the Falcons the past two years, but joined this year’s team a few weeks late. Assistant coach Nancy Ricketts convinced him to return, he said.

“In (physical education) class we were playing tennis and I realized how much I missed it,” Simmons said. “She convinced me to come back and join the team and I’m really glad I did.”

He was a varsity doubles player last year under former coach Tom Kramer, Karyle’s dad. The new Coach Kramer used the team’s inexperience to experiment with the lineup, which gave Simmons the opportunity to play varsity singles.

“I’ve always wanted to play singles,” he said. “And I’m glad Mrs. Kramer is giving me the opportunity. I think I have proven that I can play.”

The Falcons’ leader and team co-captain Guy Sparkman beat Nathan Lamb 6-4, 6-1.

“Guy has played Nathan a handful of times and has never lost to him,” Kramer said.

“They are both juniors, so I expect Nathan to be looking for Guy’s number next season,” she added.

Two Falcon freshmen rounded out the singles victories. Charley Stelling, who began the season playing doubles, defeated Ben Wehrman 6-3, 6-2. The other freshman, Nathan Riley, beat Aaron Curtin 6-0, 6-3.

Moving two freshmen to play singles allowed Kramer to shuffle some of her more experienced players to doubles teams. The Falcons’ top doubles team of juniors Kyle Simchuk and Hayden Nichols defeated Wolves Larry Hurburt and Jason Knoll 6-0, 6-3.

“Kyle and Hayden have both improved, especially in their doubles games this season,” Kramer said. “They have strong serves and returns, an improving net game and good instincts for where to put the ball.”

A partnership between junior Chase Collins and freshman Jonathon Peterson yielded a shutout win 6-0, 6-0 against Brandon Kelley and Jake McCormick.

The most inexperienced duo of Falcon freshmen Trent Fallon and Noah Frank beat Brian Norris and Evan Chiles 6-1, 6-0.

“The thing I like about this team is we don’t have any seniors, so the younger kids have to step up and do their role,” Simmons said. “It’s amazing to see how good they’re getting, and how good they will be.”

Falcons Jack Hood, a freshman, and junior Cameron Baldwin were bumped down from usual varsity duty to exhibition matches because of injury and illness. They won, however, in an eight-game pro set 8-4.

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