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the reg­u­lar sea­son, so they’ll be stronger come dis­tricts and states,” Tyng said. “So I un­der­stand the ra­tio­nale for do­ing it.”

While the new sys­tem could po­ten­tially give the Bay­side stronger dou­bles play at states, per­haps its most no­table draw­back is coaches can now go with just six play­ers in a match — us­ing play­ers in sin­gles and dou­bles — com­pared to the nine-player lineup of pre­vi­ous years.

“The mis­sion of the USTA (United States Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion) is sim­ple and clear: ‘To pro­mote and de­velop the growth of ten­nis,’” Queen Anne’s head coach Shel Gun­ther wrote in an email. “Our dis­trict is go­ing back­wards. In­stead of the manda­tory nine play­ers, now you can play with six. This po­ten­tially cuts high school ten­nis by one third. Coaches will have to play six to stay com­pet­i­tive or gam­ble a loss by play­ing lower seeds when your op­po­nent plays six. It’s a bad sys­tem. It’s bad for ten­nis. It’s bad for kids. We should be do­ing more to pro­mote ten­nis and re­cruit play­ers, not dis­cour­age them by play­ing only six.

“They said this would help us at state com­pe­ti­tions and pre­par­ing for col­lege ten­nis,” Gun­ther con­tin­ued. “Both false. The rea­son we lose at states is be­cause of our 1A and 2A schools are play­ing 3A and 4A schools. This will not change. And at least 95 per­cent of our high school stu­dents will not be play­ing col­lege ten­nis. So we’re do­ing this for less than five per­cent of the play­ers. It doesn’t make sense to me. I guess dif­fer­ent coaches have dif­fer­ent philoso­phies.”

Tyng is also trou­bled by the po­ten­tial for re­duced num­bers. Though he said his stronger play­ers will play sin­gles and dou­bles against the likes of Eas­ton and North Dorch­ester, Tyng doesn’t plan on us­ing a con­crete lineup for ev­ery match, but still had to make cuts this year.

“I hate tak­ing a rac­quet out of a kid’s hand and send­ing them home af­ter try­outs,” Tyng said. “Typ­i­cally I’ve al­ways kept kids around; some of those kids that I keep around as a fresh­man, by the time their ju­niors and se­niors they’re con­tribut­ing to the team. So I can’t do that any­more.

“There’s ba­si­cally two rea­sons,” Tyng said of the new sys­tem. “One, to give the sin­gles play­ers some dou­bles ex­pe­ri­ence, and two, for the smaller schools to be able to field a team as op­posed to putting up for­feits. I un­der­stand the rea­sons why. It’s just any­one that had a larger team, like a Queen Anne’s or an Eas­ton or a Kent Is­land, now you’ve kind of dis­cour­aged kids from coming out be­cause there’s less op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

While long­time Eas­ton head coach Dick Kemp also sees the pros and cons of the new setup, he plans on us­ing dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions through­out the en­tire sea­son at dou­bles re­gard­less to give younger play­ers a chance to de­velop.

“Against stronger teams we’ll play one way and against weaker teams we’ll play a dif­fer­ent way,” Kemp said. “I’m try­ing to play as many kids as I can. I don’t care if we win 4-3 or 7-0, it’s all the same. It doesn’t bother me.

“I’m glad that we’re try­ing it,” Kemp said. “We’re go­ing to go through some grow­ing pains try­ing to fig­ure the thing out. And ev­ery coach is go­ing to have to work through it. It will need tweak­ing I think, but the pos­i­tives def­i­nitely out­weigh the neg­a­tives. The more dou­bles is good. I wish were play­ing sin­gles first. That’s some­thing we maybe tweak in years to come but we’ll see how that goes.”

Here’s a look at this year’s lo­cal teams:

Kent Is­land Af­ter han­dling North Dorch­ester, 7-0, and Eas­ton, 6-1, last week, the de­fend­ing girls’ Bay­side cham­pi­ons are in solid po­si­tion for a sec­ond straight North Di­vi­sion ti­tle, which would be a school first in ten­nis.

Ju­nior Ca­t­rina Coyner is a heavy fa­vorite to win a third straight Dis­trict VIII sin­gles ti­tle, match­ing the mark set by for­mer stand­out Kristi Wong (2011-13), now a ju­nior at Christo­pher New­port (Va.) Univer­sity. Coyner won 140 games and lost just five against Bay­side com­pe­ti­tion last year and will bid to be­come the con­fer­ence’s first girls’ sin­gles state cham­pion since James M. Ben­nett’s Charlotte Haber­stroh in 1983.

Kylie Yesker, who went to states in mixed dou­bles last year with Kyle Alle­walt, is at No. 2, fol­lowed by field hockey stand­out Abby Car­pen­ter at No. 3 and sopho­more Marissa Teti at 4.

Tyng, who will have Jenny Hous­ton and Celina Kauf­man at No. 3 dou­bles, said he’ll go with his sin­gles lad­der in dou­bles play against the likes of Eas­ton and North Dorch­ester, but will work other play­ers into the mix dur­ing the sea­son.

“With my per­son­nel, the for­mat works great and I think we’re go­ing to have a great year as a re­sult,” Tyng said. “But you know what? We’d be just as good in the old for­mat be­cause we can pretty much go 10 deep and be able to have five strong sin­gles play­ers and two strong dou­bles teams (like) last year’s for­mats. It’s a wash.”

The boys’ team should again be strong, though a di­vi­sion cham­pi­onship doesn’t seem likely. Ju­niors fill the sin­gles lad­der, led by Alle­walt at No. 1, Con­nor Ab­planalp, Pre­ston Wilder and Ben Schre­con­gost. Head coach Pete Ben­del will pair Alle­walt and Wilder at No. 1 dou­bles, Ab­planalp and Brady Gal­lagher at No. 2, and Hank Mow­bray and Alec Coyner at 3.

“I had my reser­va­tions, but I think the com­pe­ti­tion is bet­ter be­cause of the new for­mat,” Ben­dell said.

Queen Anne’s County “It’s Eas­ton’s to lose,” Gun­ther said of the boys’ North ti­tle.

And should the Warriors stum­ble, the Lions fig­ure to be right there to pos­si­bly win a sec­ond di­vi­sion ti­tle in three years.

Queen Anne’s grad­u­ated Rob­bie Kight — who qual­i­fied for states in mixed dou­bles — Parker Martin and Alex Downes. But a 7-0 start to the sea­son has shown the re­turn­ing cast of Blake Witt, Austin Thomas, Tan­ner Mor­ris and Matt Lutz are solid, along with new­com­ers Thomas Glowacki, Ian McGrory and Corey Hig­don.

Like Gun­ther, girls’ head coach Dee Fisher thinks the new for­mat hin­ders player de­vel­op­ment.

“We don’t sup­port the new for­mat be­cause it takes away from let­ting more peo­ple play,” Fisher said. “If you’re out there just try­ing like to dom­i­nate and com­pete and win, and that’s all you want to do, then it’s a great for­mat. But if you’re try­ing to build a pro­gram and you want a lot of peo­ple to play and get the ex­pe­ri­ence, it doesn’t go for you. I mean it’s good for schools that only have like a small num­ber of play­ers, so they don’t have to for­feit, but other than that I don’t know why they did it.”

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing seven se­niors, the Lions have strug­gled early, but Fisher still thinks his team is ahead of schedule. Catie Lea­ger (Sr.), Ruth Mur­doch (Jr.), Kather­ine Priddy (Sr.) and Kayla Workinger (Sr.) make up the sin­gles lad­der, while Fisher has Mor­gan El­burn and Abbey Heinz, Claire Dean and Olivia Min­nick and Car­rie Wal­czak and Mary Jo Hen­drix at dou­bles.

Saints Peter and Paul The girls’ team en­joyed per­haps its finest sea­son in school his­tory

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