McNary tennis programs going through transitions

McNary’s Avery Haymowicz will one of be the top singles players for the McNary girls tennis team this season. (File)

McNary girls tennis coach Sean Smith is taking over a program that has gone through a lot of transition over the last few seasons.

Smith is inheriting a program that is on its third coach in three years — not to mention that the Celtics lost their best player from last season in Hannah Childress, who took second at the Greater Valley Conference District Tournament and even advanced to the quarterfinals of the state meet last season.

But Smith — who was the McKay girls tennis coach for five seasons and the coach at West Salem last year —is excited to rebuild the culture of the McNary girls program.

“I’ve been pleased with what I have seen so far,” Smith said. “It’s fun to be able to build a program.”

“I’m really impressed with their enthusiasm and their desire to learn and become better.”

There are currently 27 players out for the team this season with most of them being first-year players.

However, the Celtics will bring back some experience with their top doubles team in Natalia Gonzalez and Gina Munguia-Martinez. The pair didn’t begin playing together until the end of last season, but still were able to reach the quarterfinals of the doubles bracket at the GVC meet in 2018.

Ariana Santana Albright and Taylor Walker are expected to be the #2 doubles team for the Celtics.

Avery Haymowicz looks to be McNary’s top singles player.

“I’ve got some good players,” Smith said.

The McNary boys also lost their best athlete from last season in Alfredo Villareal, who reached the consolation final at the GVC meet last season.

“It forces everyone else to step up,” McNary boys tennis coach Marc McAvoy said. “We got a good group returning, but we’re going to have to fill some spots with some brand new players.”

“We have got a great group of individuals, so I think we’ll be fine.”

The Celtics will be lead by their top singles player in senior Adam Graneto.

After competing in his first year of tennis last season, Luke Skipper is expected to be McNary’s #2 singles option in 2019.

“Luke has a lot of potential,” McAvoy said. “He gets people moving around and has a lot of trick shots.”

Senior Noah Kuhl will also be towards the top of the McNary singles rotation.

Brayden Lyda will likely be on McNary’s top doubles team, but his partner is undecided at this point.

Sophomores Ben Roth and Kyle Martin should also be near the top of McNary’s doubles line-up.

The McNary boys will have some gaps when it comes to dual meets, but McAvoy still feels like he has a crew that he can work with.

“We want to improve, we want to be playing our best when we get to districts and we want to have fun,” McAvoy said. “I feel like this group will be able to accomplish all of those things.”

“These kids will always compete hard to the last point.”

McNary’s Brayden Lyda prepares to set up a backhand shot in a match from last season. (File)