Chaz Hansen, Vermilion Sailors ready for tennis season

MORNING JOURNAL FILE PHOTO Vermilion’s Chaz Hansen, pictured, is one of six senior starters for the Sailors this season.

VERMILION — On and off the court, Vermilion’s seniors are a special group.

Six of the seven starters are seniors and have been together all four years. Last season, the Sailors took second in the West Shore Conference behind Rocky River.

It starts with No. 1 singles Chaz Hansen, who was undefeated in the WSC. He qualified for districts for the second year in a row and finished with a sparkling 25-2 record.

Connor Sexton holds down the No. 2 singles spot, while the lone underclassman Shane Spencer is at No. 3 singles. Seniors Kevin Cole, Nate Annable, Tim Neihart and Eddie Adkins will be both doubles teams in some combination.

With the success the Sailors have had over the past couple of seasons, coach Joe Tellier is thrilled with what they are able to do off the court as well as on.

“These are just quality kids,” Tellier said. “We have an eagle scout. Chaz is going to Ohio State. Kevin is going to Kansas State. They all have great things lined up.

“They get it done athletically and have a lot of intangibles. It’s a special group of boys we have here. This nucleus has stayed the course. They have worked in the off-season, but also do a lot of other things besides tennis.”

It all started four years ago with five of them coming in and added to the group as the years have gone on. With eight seniors on the roster, they all have different interests outside of tennis. But, they also have common threads besides just playing tennis.

“We are all strong academically and play other sports as well,” Hansen said. “We are a close knit group and have been together for a long time. We are great friends. We want success for each other on the court and off.”

Hansen, whose only two losses came in the postseason last year, may not have the same unblemished regular season mark this year.

Picking up teams like Beachwood, Perkins and Lake Ridge, the tough non-conference schedule will only help the seasoned Sailors in their quest for a WSC championship.

“We definitely got more competition this year to get them ready,” Tellier said. “I spoke with Chaz and showed him the schedule, telling him he might not go 25-2 again. He looked and I’m ok with it. It would be nice to send a couple of people to districts along with Chaz.”

The double team of Neihart and Adkins came up one match short of qualifying for districts.

With the bulked up schedule, Hansen feels this will help him in the postseason in obtaining his goal of making it to state.

“Any tough match you have in the regular season will only improve you when it comes time for the tournament,” he said. “I have continued playing every day and playing in USTA tournaments before the season, trying to improve my game. It’s going to be great playing (those teams).”

For the Sailors, the season couldn’t come any faster.

“We are ready to go,” Hansen said. “This is a pretty unbelievable group we have here.”

Last year, Vermilion defeated Bay for the first time in school history. Maybe it is time for another first in Sailors’ history. It is only appropriate it might be done by this group.

Last Updated: 4/2/2013 11:39:46 PM EST

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