Jack Flores won the Suffolk singles championship, but the Huntington High School boys’ tennis team struggled during match play this past spring. But with seven players returning, the squad has high hopes for next season.
Coached by Jamie Fishlow, the team was captained by Cody Bograd, Nick Newell and Stefan Breskin. Huntington compiled a 1-9 record in Suffolk League I play and went 4-11 overall.
“Unfortunately, it was a down year,” Fishlow said. “Our record of 1-9 is deceptive because of the league we are in. Record-wise there aren’t any accomplishments, but I have seen the team grow and improve even though the results aren’t there. We were legitimately top ten in the county, but could not get into the playoffs.”
Huntington defeated Hauppauge (6-1), Ross (6-1), Smithtown West (4-3) and William Floyd (6-1) in matches. The Blue Devils lost three contests by 4-3 scores.
“This team was strong at the top of the lineup, led mostly by seniors,” Fishlow said. “They all worked hard and were willing to learn. They never gave up.”
Flores held down the No. 1 singles position as a freshman, going 11-3 in dual meets and 20-4 overall. After finishing second in the Division I singles tournament, the teenager upset No. 1 Jackson Weisbrot of Half Hollow Hills West in the county finals, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 to claim the Suffolk crown.
In the state tournament, Flores won his first round match by 6-0, 6-0 scores before falling in three sets in the second round, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3. He was All-League, All-County and All-State. “Jack is a bigtime player with huge potential,” Fishlow said.
Bograd and Newell played second and third singles and also teamed up in No. 1 doubles. A six year starter on the varsity team, Bograd was 10-5 in singles and double play. Newell went 4-3 in singles and 5-5 in doubles. Both players won All-League honors.
“Cody was a solid six year starter who came up with some big wins,” Fishlow said. “Nick showed huge improvement over his career.”
Breskin compiled a 7-5 record in doubles and also captured All-League recognition. “He’s very coachable and worked hard,” Fishlow said. The senior was also Huntington’s county Sportsmanship Award recipient.
The team is losing Bograd, Breskin, Newell, Michael Russak and Jacob Strieb to graduation. Flores, Reid Bellistri, Kyle Chin, Max Gordon, Noah Helburn, Jason Verville and Alexander Wakhale are all eligible to return next spring.
The entire state is now aware of Flores, but the rest of Huntington’s returning lineup will have to prove itself. The Blue Devils are expected to drop down to Suffolk League II, where they will immediately be able to contend for the championship.
“We have a group of young unknowns,” Fishlow said. The forecast for 2018 is “to be determined,” the coach added.
“Dropping down to the lower ability league should allow us to rebuild, compete for the league title and provide us with a chance to return to the playoffs,” Fishlow said.