“As for the conference, Peru is usually solid, and Western lost a bunch. Northwestern and Eastern could be decent. I don’t know who will be the best team.”
Eastern coach Nick Sale is entering his second season. In his first year, Sale led the Comets to a 9-8 overall record and a 3-4 MIC record — improvements from 2011 records of 6-10 and 1-6.
Sale and the Comets will look to build on the 2012 improvement. Eastern has three of its top five spots returning — Logan Colwell (No. 1 singles), Austin Chase (No. 2 singles) and the No. 1 doubles team of Robbie Walling and Zach Walker. All four players are seniors.
“With a pretty senior-laden group, we should be in the upper half of the conference, and compete for the sectional,” Sale said. “We are a competitive group with our experience. Our conference will be deep with Western and Hamilton Heights towards the top.”
Freshman Ryan Manfred will be at the No. 2 singles spot, and the No. 2 doubles will have a combination of junior Daniel Pugh and seniors Riley Haupert, Caleb Wisher and Matt Wylie.
“Manfred has played a lot of matches over the summer,” Sale said. “But, our No. 2 doubles team has inexperience. They haven’t played very much together.”
Sale is hoping the Comets can make some noise in the sectional.
“Every year, you see Kokomo, Western and Taylor,” he said. “We have to play well to beat those teams, but it’s a possibility.”
The Comets open Aug. 24 at Cass’ tourney.
Northwestern (3-14, 1-6 MIC) will look at several different combinations for its lineup.
The Tigers return seniors Will Devaul and Kyle Miller, juniors Joel Austin and Nathan Chou and sophomore Kohl McCully. According to coach Matt Woods, all five could play singles or doubles.
Woods will look at five freshmen to battle it out for the other two spots. Those players are Clayton Douglass (singles), Kyle Douglass (singles, doubles), Michael Harshman (singles, doubles), Brayden Chou (singles, doubles) and Noah Cardwell (singles, doubles).