MUNCIE, Ind. — The IHSAA boys tennis season begins on Aug. 12.
East Central Indiana teams and individuals enjoyed successful 2022 campaigns. Delta won its 30th straight sectional and 25th regional titles, New Castle won its first sectional since 2017 and first regional ever, Jay County was crowned sectional champion for the second time in three seasons and Muncie Burris’ Charlie Behrman earned another singles sectional title.
Muncie Central head coach Don Wafer notched his 700th career victory as well.
Many key players, however, graduated, so there are several new names to look out for this fall. (NOTE: Not every head coach responded to The Star Press’ information request.)
William Abbett (Shenandoah senior)
Abbett played No. 1 singles for the Raiders last season. The team struggled early on before facing New Castle in the sectional final, and head coach John Rhodes expects the group, which graduated just one player, who find more success this fall through their athleticism and experience. Abbett will play a key role as the upperclassman in that mission.
Toby Byrn (Muncie Central senior)
Byrn has played varsity in each of his high school seasons thus far and was an All-North Central Conference Second Team selection last year at No. 3 singles in 2021 and at No. 2 singles in 2022. Wafer hasn’t decided yet if Byrn will stay at No. 2 singles this fall or move to No. 1 singles, a spot left vacant by the graduation of Tanner Townsend.
Charlie Crabtree (Blackford senior)
Crabtree played No. 3 singles last season for the Bruins and went 8-9. But with the loss of five seniors from last year, Crabtree will take on an increased role and play No. 1 singles this fall. Head coach Amber Crabtree said the senior has made improvements this summer and is ready to be the team captain of a program that’s still rebuilding.
Vincent Farris (New Castle junior)
Farris played No. 2 doubles during the Trojans’ historic 2022 run. Head coach Curt Huntley said Farris enjoyed a productive summer, most notably becoming the Penguin Classic Delta summer tournament singles winner, and should be elevated into a larger role with the graduation of the team’s No. 1 singles and doubles players.
Cooper Hummel (Winchester junior)
Despite playing No. 2 doubles a season ago, Hummel will play No. 1 singles for the Golden Falcons in 2023. The team graduated five varsity players, including its top-2 singles players, its No. 1 doubles tandem and Hummel’s doubles partner, so head coach Derek Baker called this season a “rebuilding year.”
Still, he feels Hummel has promise and will gain valuable experience now as one of Winchester’s on-court leaders.
Anson Isaacs (Yorktown senior)
Isaacs played No. 1 singles for Yorktown in both 2021 and 2022, and his success last season helped the Tigers earn a 17-7 team record. Now under new head coach Adam Kuban, Isaacs’ experience will be helpful in helping ease the transition for the program.
Dalton Royal (Delta senior)
Following a standout Second Team All-State sophomore season at No. 1 doubles, during which his tandem went 21-3, head coach Tim Cleland slotted Royal into the coveted No. 1 singles spot as a junior. Royal adapted well, going 14-12 en route to another All-State nod, and should be more comfortable in the role as an experienced senior this fall.
Preston Shanayda (Delta senior)
Shanayda was half of a solid No. 2 doubles squad last season that went 15-8. Cleland has placed even more trust in the upperclassman this fall, though, and will likely elevate Shanayda to No. 1 doubles.
Leo Underhill (New Castle junior)
Underhill was the second half of New Castle’s No. 2 doubles tandem, and like Farris, he also enjoyed a successful summer and was the singles winner at the Community Hospital Anderson summer tournament. With his older brother, Sam, gone from No. 1 doubles, Underhill likely play a more key position in the Trojans’ roster this fall.
Kody Vest (Delta junior)
Vest made his singles debut in 2022, going 14-11 in the Eagles’ No. 3 role. Cleland said the junior will play singles once again this fall, and with his older brother, Owen, having graduated, Vest’s performance will be even more key to the team’s success.
Gus Martin is a sports reporter at The Star Press. Follow him on Twitter @GusMartin_SP, and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Muncie Star Press: 10 East Central Indiana boys tennis to watch 2023 IHSAA fall sports