By BOB STRICKLEY
PDT Sports Editor
The latest generation of Portsmouth tennis has made its mark on the program’s history.
Trevor Violette and Tanner Hatcher will join the former Portsmouth doubles team of Casey Blood and Marty Glick (1957) and the team of John Scott and Jeff Deyer (1983, ‘84) as the only Trojan duos to make it to the State Tournament this Saturday.
Violette and Hatcher set their date in Columbus by winning the Southeast District Tournament last Saturday afternoon in Athens.
It has been a season of only thrills for Trojan tennis as the team earned the SEOAL Title with a flawless 13-0 in the regular season.
“I really didn’t expect our team to be this successful but our goal is always to win and is always to have fun doing it,” Portsmouth coach Chris Cole said.
Hatcher and Violette played a singles slate during the regular season and while Hatcher was undefeated and was named All-SEOAL from the No. 2 slot for Portsmouth, Violette won the SEOAL Player of the Year as the figurative ace of the Trojan team.
“I’m proud of what our team and these two players have accomplished this year,” Cole said.
Violette and Hatcher will now look ahead to the Division II State Doubles Tournament Saturday at the Ohio State Outdoor Varsity Tennis Courts in Columbus. The Trojans will face Grant McPherson and Stephen Shin of Toledo Maumee Valley Country Day.
No matter the outcome for the pair of seniors, it has been a season to remember for Trojan tennis.
“This was a great year for PHS tennis,” Cole said. “The girls team, under the direction of Amy Keating, was also undefeated and sent a player (Ali Miller) to state.”
The Trojans doubles team of Zach and Robbie Shugert also earned All-SEOAL honors and Katherine Meriwether earned honorable mention this spring.
Following the victory that punched the Trojans’ ticket to state, Cole announced he would step down as the boss of boys tennis at Portsmouth following the State Tournament.
“This will be my last year coaching. I plan on spending this time with my two young children,” Cole said. “What I’ll miss most is all of the amazing people you meet and interact with along the way, that includes the players, coaches and parents.”
Cole, the 2012 SEOAL Coach of the Year, said he enjoyed the opportunity to make coaching Trojan tennis a family affair.
“I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity to coach with my dad (Jim Ramey) who has been an amazing role model for our student athletes,” he said.
Thiel leaves lasting mark at Minford
Noah Thiel’s high school tennis career might have come to an end last weekend, but the Minford senior has nothing to hang his head about after an impressive career.
Thiel won his first match against Coshocton’s P.J. Bair 6-4, 6-2, but fell to Cambridge’s Aaron Ruby 6-4, 0-6, 4-6 in the District Tournament in Athens.
Before winning a spot in districts, Thiel rolled his competition in sectionals and the SOC II Tournament.
According to Minford tennis coach R.D. Baker, Thiel is undefeated in his regular season career.
Baker said he felt for his captain when he fell one match short of the state tournament, but the loss does nothing to tarnish the body of work Thiel has compiled.
“He has one of the best work ethics of any kid and he is total class,” Baker said. “He has done things all season long to elevate the young kids on the team around him.”
As a junior, Thiel went to the Division II State Doubles Tournament with Logan Conkey and the year before the two made it to the semifinals in the District Tournament.
“He’s worked so hard and has represented himself very well in his career,” Baker said.
Bob Strickley may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 203, or email@example.com.