The familiarity that the members of the Reynoldsburg boys tennis team previously had with each other made for a smooth transition to the competition this spring.
Brett Stewart was in his first season as the Raiders coach in 2019 when they went 11-9 to post their first winning record since 2014.
Although canceled last season due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Stewart worked with all of this year’s key players when he was the junior high coach.
We have a really small team, but all these guys I’ve had since they were in seventh grade when I coached at junior high, so I know them well and they know me well, Stewart said. It is well. Since it was a smaller team they weren’t super deep. My singles (positions) are all pretty set.
Sophomore Jaden Coley, who would likely have been one of the team’s top players last spring, is a year-round competitor who will play the first singles.
Junior James Knorr is on second base, with senior Brian McClain on third base. In the 2019 Division I, Knorr lost in the first round in singles and McClain lost in the second round in doubles to 2019 graduate Chase Cotner.
Senior Dane Myers is a 2019 returner who will compete in the first doubles match with sophomore David Harris. Ryan Burns, another senior returnee, is in second doubles with sophomore Malik Stallings.
Sophomore Aaron Slisher should also see time in doubles.
The most important thing for (Coley) is to keep him calm, Stewart said. This is his first year playing tennis in high school since he didn’t show up last year. He plays in a lot of tournaments and knows a lot of the guys who play, but it’s a different animal that plays in high school where he’s going to consistently play every game against someone who’s always good.
There are many good things about this group. We all know each other very well, which helps a lot. These guys work hard and want to do well. They are really competitive, which is good. They are a fun group to be around.
Trainer: Brett Stewart, Season 2
Next game: April 8 in New Albany
Main athletes: Ryan Burns, Jaden Coley, David Harris, James Knorr, Brian McClain, Dane Myers and Malik Stallings
Volleyball team is watching
For what would have been the fourth season last spring, the boys volleyball team expected a step forward under the leadership of 2020 graduate Donovan Travis, after being 1-24 overall and 0-14 in the OCC-Ohio Division in 2019.
While Travis is now competing for Baldwin Wallace after the 2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic, Reynoldsburg continues to have what coach Matt Bailey considers strong attendance figures as it appears to be moving forward.
This year’s team wants to bounce back, Bailey said. With those players returning, most haven’t touched volleyball since they were sophomores or freshmen two years ago. This year’s program again has three teams. We were excited to see so many guys interested in volleyball.
Of the 24 who played for the program, five had previously participated in the sport, according to Bailey.
Seniors Sam Gilmore (middle hitter) and Gabe Sargent (outside hitter) and junior Desmond Barber (outside hitter) contributed to the 2019 team, which beat Licking Heights 21-25, 25-22, 25-21 for the only win and won four other sets for the regular season.
Monty Rollins (middle batter), Al Coumbassa (setter / opponent) and John Hayes (libero / opponent) are the other seniors.
New to the program is freshman Anthony Myers (setter / opponent).
Everyone is learning new features this season, Bailey said. Every player is like a sponge. They just absorb whatever they are taught and implement it in the games. We improved every day, were there and had fun while they did it. That’s all a coach can ask for.
Trainer: Matt Bailey, Season 4
Next game: April 8 vs. Westerville Central
Main athletes: Desmond Barber, Al Coumbassa, Sam Gilmore, John Hayes, Anthony Myers, Monty Rollins and Gabe Sargent
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