Boys tennis: Young Wilton squad looks to rebuild
With seven newcomers on a roster of 12 players, the Wilton High boys tennis team begins the 2017 season in rebuilding mode.
As Monday’s 5-2 loss at home to Westhill in the season opener showed, the Warriors may take some time to put the pieces together.
“It was close, but we came up just short. But we’ll grow from it,” said head coach Chris Damone, whose squad is inexperienced at the varsity level but has the talent to be a strong team. “We’re really young. We’ll take our lumps early but we’ll be in the mix.”
The Warriors are coming off one of their best years in memory, after a 14-4 season that ended with a third-place finish at the Class L state championships.
But many of the key pieces from a year ago are gone.
Nick Condos, who played first singles last year as a freshman, is taking the high school season off. Last season he was a first-team all-FCIAC pick and reached the Class L semifinals.
The team graduated two other top singles players, Tim Sullivan and Alex Hattenbach.
Wilton also graduated Jordan Lord (first-team all-FCIAC), who teamed up with Henry Murphy last year at first doubles and finished at 20-1, capped off with the Class L doubles championship.
Graduation also took second doubles player Ryan Walsh and singles players Max Najarian and Preston Turk.
This year’s team will be mix of veterans and newcomers, with five returning varsity players bolstered by seven players moving up the varsity ranks. The 12-man roster features only two seniors.
“We have five sophomores. They all can play. We have a couple of freshmen who can play, too, and we have guys moving up from the JV team,” said Damone.
The Warriors are anchored by senior captains Quentin Thouvenot and Ryan Farinas. Thouvenot will play at second singles again this season, after earning honorable mention all-FCIAC last year. Farinas will open the season at second doubles.
Junior Tor Aronson is another returning starter in the singles rotation.
The talented sophomore class includes Jay Cassone, who played fifth singles last year but has risen to the top of the singles rotation this season.
“He’s really improved his game,” said coach Damone.
Sophomore Conrad Emerson, who played at second doubles last year as a freshman, opens at third singles this year.
Murphy, a first-team all-FCIAC pick and state doubles champ last season, will stay at first doubles, where he will be joined by new sophomore Clay Adams.
Other newcomers are juniors Rithwik Shivram, Owen McKessy and Charles Li, sophomore Clayton Latone, and freshman Harrison Tucker.
Results for Monday’s match were:
Westhill 5, Wilton 2
Singles: Jordan Soifer (WH) def. Jay Cassone, 7-6, 4-6, 10-6; Quentin Thouvenot (Wilt) def. Rishabh Tandon, 6-3, 6-3; Tyler Pomerance (WH) def. Conrad Emerson, 6-3, 6-2; Crosby Fox (WH) def. Clayton Latone, 6-0, 6-1. Doubles: Henry Murphy-Clay Adams (Wilt) def. Matt Greenbaum-Kunal Batra, 6-1, 6-2; Andy Putterman-Shiloh Williamson (WH) def. Ryan Farinas-Owen McKessy, 7-6, 6-2; Nikhil Arora-Neev Suryawanshi (WH) def. Charles Li-Rithwik Shivram, 6-3, 6-3
— J.B. Cozens