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By: Drew Hendrickson, Director of Tennis, Fitness, and Summer Programs

The City of Boston is once again abuzz with the excitement of the Tenacity Middle School Tennis League. Fans and players have been closely following the early results to see who might be front runners for this year’s Crane Cup Championship.

Fans looking for a breakout favorite in the early going might be disappointed, however. Most matches this spring have been neck and neck with no clear favorites emerging.

Atop the standings currently sit the Curley and the JMann.

Not to be overlooked, however, are the Washington Irving Warriors. With two ties and no defeats, the Warriors are posting results that might build some momentum within their team.

Most recently, on February 16th at the Cass Center, the Warriors scored a strong tie against the JMann. Irving 7th grader Angel Vega decisively took down the JMann’s Daisy Ogbesoyen, 4-0. The win is all the more significant because Ogbesoyen won the 2nd doubles round robin at the Rising Stars event in December of last year. If the Irving continues to score wins over players of this caliber, they will start convincing themselves that they could really make some noise as the season wears on.

Another result that may serve as a bellwether for the rest of the season was the Curley’s February 15th defeat of the Umana. The Flying Lions swept the Eagles 3-0 with Philip Pepin winning at first singles 6-3, Alex Castaneda winning at second singles 6-0, and Amber Soto and David Ebanks winning 6-0 at first doubles.

This win was as decisive as the Curley’s defeat of the Umana at the Lion’s Den last fall. Umana coach Caitlin Cataldo has vowed to seek vengeance on the Curley at the Eagle’s Nest in East Boston, but so far has been blocked out of her home gym by other community programming.

Filling out the league standings are the Frederick Pilots and the McCormack Panthers. Both have played just one match.

The McCormack fought hard in a 2-1 loss to the Umana on January 27th. Ashanti Dabney Small and Genesis Valdez won at first doubles for the Panthers, 3-2, but the Umana won at 2nd and 3rd doubles to take the overall team win.

As for the Frederick Pilots, they battled the Irving to a tie in their lone match of the year, as 7th graders Jade Moses and Keylani Hayes scored a victory at first doubles.

In addition to the fierce competition on the court, the Pilots are contending with an unexpected coaching change, but are steadfast in their commitment to a successful season. AmeriCorps Fellow Jared Magee has stepped in as interim head coach and hopes to guide the Pilots through this temporary turbulence and on to clearer skies ahead.