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By Brian Bergner Jr.

Larson Newspapers

 

Just over a month ago the Sedona Red Rock High tennis team reported to camp looking to set its sights on high achievement this season. With a solid group of returning boys and a young and inexperienced group of girls, those goals are certainly possible.

The Scorpion boys team began its quest for what head coach Larry Lineberry calls, “the best boys team ever” at Sedona when they defeated cross-valley rival Mingus Union High on Friday, March 6, 6-3.

“Mingus is a good team and they will go places this season so for us to beat them and open our season with a victory was huge,” Lineberry said.

Sedona opened the season playing at home for the first time in school history as the new tennis courts proved good luck for the Scorpions.

This 2009 campaign should be fun to follow on both sides of the court, boys and girls, as the boys aim their sights on the school’s first state title and the girls look to get better every time out, no matter the result.

“People outside our team think I’m a bit crazy, but I’ve been around tennis long enough ... this boys team is going to go far this season and anything less than a team state championship will be disappointing,” Lineberry said.

Top Returners

This season should be a dandy for the Scorpions with three returning seniors ready to win matches for Sedona, and it could be one of the better built teams in the state.

Beginning with the No. 1 player in senior Luke Dumyahn, Sedona has a wide variety of players who are good enough to beat many players on the courts this season.

“I’m looking forward to this season. We are going to be pretty good. It’s all a matter of how things play out and how we play our game,” Dumyahn said.

Next is senior Andy Swartout who should be the No. 2 tennis player for Sedona this season.

The next in line is No. 3 starter in senior Grahm Greenfield who is solid, while sophomores Jade Lewis, Wilson Sims and Keaton Cross should fill in nicely at positions four through six.

Lineberry says, however, that each of these players have played well enough so far in the early going that any one of them could be a No. 2.

“We’re so deep this season. I think that’s the difference in why we are going to be really good this year,” Lineberry said.

As for the girls, sophomore Ali Geter is the only returning player from last year’s girls team.

Geter should do just fine between the lines this season but still has a few years of growing before she becomes the tennis player Lineberry knows she can be.

In case you might be wondering, stud tennis player Valentine Byrne did not return to the Scorpions this season as her family moved to San Diego over the summer.

Top Newcomers

The boys again have a few newcomers that could challenge for a top six spot in the lineup before all is said and done.

Cross actually is a newcomer to the Scorpions, despite being a part of the team last year, because of an injury that kept him out of the lineup for most of the season.

Next in line would be freshman Ian O’Heir.

O’Heir comes to the Scorpions with all the tournament experience in the world as Lineberry has been teaching him for quite some time. He could crack the top six sooner rather than later.

As for the girls, freshmen Alexandra Keckeis and Stephanie Diaz are the top players incoming for the Scorpions this season.

Diaz should be the No. 1 player in the lineup for Sedona this season followed by Geter and then Keckeis.

Senior Tara O’Heir also starts the season as a newcomer for the Scorpions this year and should provide a leadership base for Lineberry and the tennis team.

Season Overview

With early matches against good teams including a road trip to Phoenix on Wednesday, March 11, playing against Phoenix Country Day School, Sedona will be tested early. However,  that could be a good thing for when the Scorpions reach tournament time.

“This is our best chance ever at doing something special, so everyone is very excited,” Lineberry said.


Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


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