After finishing tied for second at the state meet last year, Coach Stefan Welch has a clear goal for his River Rats in 2019 – win the whole thing.
Huron returns a lineup that will contend for the state title – again. Huron hasn’t finished lower than fourth at a state finals since 2003 and have won five state titles in Welch’s 18 seasons as head coach.
So setting a goal as state champs is nothing new for the River Rats.
“We have a lot of depth in our lineup, plenty of experience and only graduated two players off last year’s team,” Welch said. “But we need to improve on everything. That’s how you get better. We need to stay healthy and get better every day.”
The River Rats finished tied for second to Bloomfield Hills in last year’s Division 1 State Finals at the Midland Tennis Center. Huron and Brother Rice both netted 22 points while Bloomfield Hills took first with 37 points.
The River Rats also were Regional and SEC champions in 2018.
Top returning players include senior Owen Kelley, who was a semifinalist at one singles in the state finals last year, and junior Michael Shi, who reached the quarterfinals in the state tournament last year at three singles. Also back are seniors Max Brodkey and Anvit Rao, who reached the state semifinals last year at one doubles.
Top newcomers include talented freshman Andy Andea and Nick Pauken.
The River Rats open the season on Friday (Aug. 23) at the Ann Arbor Invitational at Pioneer along with Saline.