OPRF High School cruised to its own boys tennis team invitational championship on Saturday by sweeping all the singles and doubles titles. While the Huskies are happy to dominate their own tournament against the Catholic League’s best, outscoring runner-up St. Ignatius while Fenwick and Loyola tied for third place, OPRF frankly has loftier goals.

The Huskies (1-1 in dual matches this season) are vying for a third straight Top 3 finish at the state meet after trailing only state champion New Trier and Deerfield (in 2011) , and, yep, you guessed it, state champion/perennial juggernaut New Trier and Hinsdale Central (in 2010).

“New Trier and Hinsdale Central are practically untouchable,” OPRF coach John Morlidge said. “Glenbrook South and Deerfield are also very strong, and [then] we’re in the mix probably with Downers Grove South. We lost three guys [to graduation] who are now playing college tennis, but we’re hoping for a Top 5 finish in the state.”

The graduated players Morlidge alluded to are former top singles player Jake Wilson, a state quarterfinalist in 2011, and the Huskies’ No.1 doubles team of Devin Jones and Eric Brunyseels.

Luke Trinka, who teamed with Jones to capture fourth place at the state event last year, takes over the No. 1 singles position. Trinka has already battled Deefield’s Jason Brown this season (third in state last year), but came up short in a tough three-set loss. Morlidge feels Trinka can place potentially among the Top 8-12 singles players at state.

“Luke is a very good athlete and our best player,” Morlidge said. “He has a solid baseline game and his improved his serve and play at the net.”

Graham Lehman will hold down the No. 2 singles spot, while Jeremy Dixon (also quite capable of playing No. 2 singles) joins senior Tim McAdams at No. 1 doubles. Brunyseels and McAdams took sixth in the 2011 state meet. Dixon-McAdams rolled past Fenwick 6-0, 6-1 in the No. 1 doubles championship match of the OPRF Invite. Returning varsity players Mitch Rasley and D.J. Arends compose a strong No. 2 doubles for the reloaded Huskies. Seniors Fred Gibson and Zach Dranoff, along with junior Ben Foster and Joe Charbel, should see action in conference meets. Morlidge is also excited about the additions of skilled sophomores Jonah Phillion and Declan Sieskias.

“I think this group can be very good and they definitely work hard,” Morlidge said. “We play such a tough schedule that we need to stay healthy and play up to our potential.”       

The Huskies host Latin on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. and take on New Trier Thursday at 4:45 p.m. in Winnetka Park. 

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Marty Farmer

The Illinois Press Association recently honored Marty with the 1st & 2nd Place Awards for Best Sports Feature for his article He's in an Oak Park state of mind: Former OPRF star Iman Shumpert returns...