2024 Upper Valley high school tennis guide

Lebanon High's Finn Ericson, left, admires the NHIAA Division II championship plaque with Bayden Schifferdecker after their tennis team's 7-2 defeat of Bow on May 31, 2023, at Alvirne High in Hudson, N.H. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Lebanon High's Finn Ericson, left, admires the NHIAA Division II championship plaque with Bayden Schifferdecker after their tennis team's 7-2 defeat of Bow on May 31, 2023, at Alvirne High in Hudson, N.H. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News file photograph — Tris Wykes

Lebanon High's Will Katz leaps to make a shot during the Raiders' 7-2 defeat of Bow in the NHIAA Division II championship on May 31, 2023, at Alvirne High in Hudson, N.H. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Lebanon High's Will Katz leaps to make a shot during the Raiders' 7-2 defeat of Bow in the NHIAA Division II championship on May 31, 2023, at Alvirne High in Hudson, N.H. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley news file photographs — Tris Wykes

Hanover tennis players Pablo Martin-Asensio, left, and doubles partner Raymond Menkov bat a tennis ball around before the start of Hanover's tennis match with Nashua South in Hanover, N.H., on Monday, May 1, 2023.  (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Hanover tennis players Pablo Martin-Asensio, left, and doubles partner Raymond Menkov bat a tennis ball around before the start of Hanover's tennis match with Nashua South in Hanover, N.H., on Monday, May 1, 2023. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Jennifer Hauck

Lebanon head coach Rob Johnstone talks to player Sophie Longacre during her match against Kearsarge on Thursday, April 21, 2023, in Lebanon, N.H. Longacre had not played competitively before this season. Kearsarge won, 6-3. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Lebanon head coach Rob Johnstone talks to player Sophie Longacre during her match against Kearsarge on Thursday, April 21, 2023, in Lebanon, N.H. Longacre had not played competitively before this season. Kearsarge won, 6-3. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news file photographs — Jennifer Hauck

Jonah Libens-Mavadones

Jonah Libens-Mavadones —BigZig Photography

Sophia Nisimblat

Sophia Nisimblat —Tris Wykes

By PATRICK O’GRADY

Valley News Correspondent

Published: 04-21-2024 4:31 PM

Modified: 05-10-2024 9:33 AM


Lebanon and Hanover have been historically joined at the hip in all sorts of high school sports. Tennis is no different.

What puts the Raiders and Bears in the same conversation these days is their success rather than head-to-head battles. Hanover is an annual competitor for NHIAA Division I boys tennis honors, and Lebanon has entered the new season as defending champs in D-II. Excellence mirrors excellence.

The Hanover and Lebanon girls are in growth mode this year, with deep playoff runs in their sights. Hartford and Woodstock continue to improve, with the Wasps rejoining the boys tennis ranks this spring.

A look at the Upper Valley’s teams:

BOYSHANOVER

Coach: Kelly Finn (second year).

Last year: 15-2, lost to Bedford, 8-1, in the state finals.

League: NHIAA Division I.

Returnees: Seniors — Zach Pearson, Nick Pais, Henry Werner, Trevor Lichtenstein; Juniors — Sam Ames (captain), Ryder Wilson, Alex Orsino, Ian Holmes, Ming Liu, Pablo Martin-Asensio; Sophomore — Ray Menkov.

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Newcomers: Freshman — Ben Pearson, Ben Ames, Ben Hannan.

Outlook: With everyone from last year’s state finals team returning and three freshmen, the Bears will look to win back the Division I title they earned two years ago.

“We have a ton of depth on the ladder this year, which will give us some good internal competition where everyone pushes each other to keep improving and play their best,” coach Kelly Finn said. “Everyone is off to a great start, and there is a lot of enthusiasm. It will be a great season and here is to hoping for another state finals.”

HARTFORD

Coach: Kate Godek (5).

Last year: 3-8, missed tournament.

Leagues: VPA Division I, Southern Vermont League (A Division).

Returnees: Juniors — Sebastian Fraser, Rowan Irvine, Jonah Libens-Mavodones; Sophomore — Arlo Philips.

Newcomers: Seniors — Joseph Pierson, Benjamin Ray; Juniors — Adrian Layne, Nolan Pitchel; Freshman — Kevin Sumner.

Outlook: The Hurricanes are looking to improve on their win total from last year with a mix of returning players and new ones.

“As always, our goal for the team is to continue to build their skills as competitive tennis players,” coach Kate Godek said.

LEBANON

Coaches: Tammy and Chad Arado (4).

Last year: 16-1, beat Bow, 7-2, for state championship.

League: NHIAA Division II.

Returners: Seniors — Nolan Arado, Will Katz; Juniors — Kyle Hines, Lucas Graham, Lavi Halwawala, Reeve Green; Sophomores — Lode Scholtz, Augie Church- Cole.

Newcomers: None.

Outlook: The Raiders will be aiming for their third title in four years and will be led by Nolan Arado and Will Katz.

“We are looking forward to defending our title,” co-coach Tammy Arado said. “Even though we only have eight kids, we are focused from top to bottom. We are so proud of the kids, their work ethic and enthusiasm.”

WOODSTOCK

Coach: Michael Malik (1).

Last year: No team; 9-3 and state tournament qualifier in 2022.

Leagues: VPA Division I, Southern Vermont League (A Division).

Players: Senior — Kaelen Lundberg; Sophomores — Finn Costello, Jacob Legayada, Sam Bowdoin; Freshmen — Vasco Malik, Desmond Early, Ayron Romanczak, Lyon Maksimovic, Josh Byrne.

Outlook: Two years ago the Wasps graduated six players and last year did not field a team. Coach Michael Malik understands he has some rebuilding to do with a roster of all freshmen and sophomores, except for one senior.

“We have nine boys on the team this year, but only one, Kaelen Lundberg, has played tennis before,” Malike said. “This is a restructuring year, hoping to get the boys competitive in a year or two.”

GIRLSHANOVER

Coach: Liz Murray (11).

Last year: 13-3, lost to eventual champion Dover in state semifinals.

League: NHIAA Division I.

Returnees: Seniors — Shayna Rockmore, Jenny Davis; Juniors — Rachel Rockmore, Sophia Costa, Julia Lawe, Ally Lee.

Newcomers: Juniors — Hannah Gardner, Ava Goletz; Sophmores — Lila Muirhead, Maggie Feng, Olivia Grabinski, Mia Bornstein.

Outlook: The Bears have advanced to the semifinals three years in a row. With Rachel Rockmore and Sophia Costa — last year’s No. 1 and No. 3 singles players — back, Hanover looks to go deeper this year.

“We have a lot of returners with a strong lineup and depth,” coach Liz Murray said. “We are looking forward to a great season and developing strong doubles partners.”

HARTFORD

Coach: Kate Godek (5).

Last year: 5-6, lost to eventual state champion Mount Mansfield in quarterfinals.

Leagues: VPA Division II, Southern Vermont League (B Division).

Returnees: Juniors — Jadeah Bruce, Nike DuMoulin, Harper Fallon, Larkyn Moodie-Hamilton; Sophomore — Tallulah Abbey.

Newcomers: Junior — Bailey Provost; Sophomores — Rowan Dumont, Lyla Metheny, Cecilie Solomita; Freshmen — Samantha Fraser, Madelyn Hultquist, Kaitlyn Nichols.

Outlook: Though Hartford lost five players to graduation, it will look to continue its improvement following a tournament appearance last year after one win in 2022. The team adds seven newcomers to join a core of juniors led by captain Harper Fallon.

“This year, the team will focus on strengthening their skills and learning the key strategies of playing tennis,” coach Kate Godek said.

LEBANON

Coach: Rob Johnstone (6).

Last year: 10-6, lost in quarterfinals to Prospect Mountain.

League: NHIAA Division III.

Returnees: Seniors — Adaa Karanwal, Sophie Longacre, Hannah Rich, Norah Falcone, Lea Castell.

Newcomers: Juniors — Hailey Schibuola, Marianna Utell, Amalia Mladek; Sophomores — Payton Breedlove.

Newcomers: Senior — Izabella Rutherford, Isabel Vasquez; Juniors — Laura Hines; Sophomores — Gabriella Mayhew, Laura Da Silveira; Freshmen — Shaya Kiridena, Mackenzie Cass.

Outlook: Lebanon, with a mix of returning players and newcomers, looks to build upon last year’s success, when the team hosted and won a playoff match for the first time in several years. Adaa Karanwal, Hailey Schiboula, Sophie Longacre, Marianna Utell, Hannah Rich and Amalia Mladek were part of that success and have experience in both singles and doubles play.

“All of our players — returnees and those new to tennis — have shown great enthusiasm and have created a fun and competitive atmosphere,” coach Rob Johnstone said.

WOODSTOCK

Coach: Rob Parker (2).

Last year: 8-5, lost in quarterfinals to eventual state champ Mount Mansfield.

League: VPA Division II, Southern Vermont League (B Division).

Returnees: Juniors — Brooke Hecker, Hannah Watson, Sophia Nisimblat, Chloe Masillo, Charlotte Nunan, Tess Belisle; Sophomore — Phoebe Anderson.

Newcomers: Sophomore — Maggie Pierce; Freshmen — Mia Zilian, Chiara Winawer-Stein.

Outlook: The Wasps will not have a senior on this year’s team, and hopes are high to take another step forward from what was a solid regular season a year ago.

“We’ve added a bit of depth with some new younger players, and the hope is they will have an impact on our group overall. We look forward to a good season,” coach Rob Parker said.