Boys tennis preview: 5 storylines to watch

Jackson returns last season’s Class 4A state runner-up in singles.

1 Jackson senior has a shot to end Snohomish County’s 8-year singles title drought.

Brady Thomas finished as the runner-up at the Class 4A state singles tournament this past spring, and the Timberwovles’ junior is off to a hot start to begin his senior campaign. Thomas has dropped just four games through five matches this season while helping lead the Jackson to a 5-1 record.

Thomas didn’t drop a set on his way to a finals matchup with Newport sophomore Amol Koli last season, when the Jackson standout fell 6-1, 6-1. If Thomas can repeat his success and make another run at the finals, he’d have the chance to be Snohomish County’s first state singles champion in any classification since Jackson’s Michael Chamerski took home the title in 2011.

Thomas, the defending 4A District 1 champion, is one of a handful of talented returners in Wesco 4A, which includes Glacier Peak’s Dario Ristovski and Tyler Cochran, who each won one match at state last year in singles and doubles, respectively.

2 Is this the year somebody finally unseats the Timberwovles in Wesco 4A?

The Jackson boys tennis team has been the class of Wesco 4A over the past decade. The Timberwovles have won three straight titles and have 10 league titles in the past 11 seasons.

Jackson showed that it may be experiencing some growing pains after having its 51-match winning streak snapped with a 5-2 loss to Shorewood that was sandwiched around narrow 4-3 wins over North Creek and Redmond. The Timberwolves have rebounded with three strong performances, though, as they break in a roster with just three returners from last season’s varsity squad.

Kamiak (5-1), Lake Stevens (4-1), Glacier Peak (4-0) and Mount Vernon (5-0) are all off to nice starts to the season and are the likely candidates to contend with Jackson.

Lake Stevens coach Mark Hein said that depth may be the key to topping Jackson.

3Expect a four-team race in a wide-open Wesco 3A North.

Defending league champion Snohomish, Arlington, Oak Harbor and Stanwood all appear to be in the mix for a Wesco 3A North league championship.

The Panthers have won all three league titles since dropping to 3A ahead of the 2016-17 school year, and are still among the league’s favorites despite graduating some key pieces from a squad that went unbeaten in conference play.

Arlington returns the Wesco 3A North singles champion, senior Taras McCurdie, along with state doubles qualifier Ben Nichols and senior Keaton McBride, who Arlington coach Ben Mendro said provide the Eagles with a solid top three this fall.

Stanwood returns seven varsity starters, including top singles players Shintaro Wilcox and Preston Pierce, and impact freshman Morgan Zill give the Spartans a deep team with a mixture of youth and experience.

Oak Harbor features a strong core of returners, including Nick Krantz and brothers Micah and Ezra Franklin.

4 After a fast start, keep an eye on Meadowdale in Wesco 3A/2A South.

The Mavericks have raced out to their best start since 2013, winning five of their first six contests while winning 28 of 42 individual matches.

Meadowdale No. 1 singles player Ben Fahey has been strong at the top of the Mavericks’ lineup, and the team has been particularly successful in doubles play thus far. A league title in boys tennis would be Meadowdale’s first since 2010.

The Mavericks will be tested in conference play Tuesday against Shorewood, which has won four of the past five and conference titles, and Thursday against defending league champion Edmonds-Woodway.

5This season offers 3A teams more state-tournament berths.

This will offer more opportunity for tennis players at 3A schools in District 1. The district will send four individuals and doubles teams to the state tournament in the spring after getting just three bids last season. The increase is due this being the second year of the allocation cycle, which takes a berth away from the 3A Bi-District 3 & 4 tournament and gives another to District 1. Twelve of the 14 schools that make up the district are from Snohomish County.

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