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Experience abounds for Woodrow Wilson tennis teams

Mar. 26—Bernie Bostick has built the Woodrow Wilson tennis program into one of the best in the state. He hopes an experience-laden team will help that continue this spring.

The boys and girls both return a bulk of the players from last year's group. The boys lost only graduate Isaiah Lawrence and Italian exchange student Alberto Simoncello.

Leading the way again will be junior Ram Asaithambi. The No. 1 seed was a state quarterfinalist last season and is off to a 4-1 start this year.

"He's probably one of the top four or five players in the state," Bostick said. "All he does is play tennis. He played in tournaments all last summer up into the winter. He practices several hours a day even after our practices."

The No. 2 seed for the Flying Eagles is junior Ethan Shepard. He has started the year 5-0.

"Ethan played over a hundred matches this past summer to get to where he is," Bostick said.

At No. 3 is sophomore Tyler Radford. Both he and Shepard moved up in a spot in the singles lineup.

"Great groundstrokes, great serve," Bostick said of Radford. "Just needs a little bit more experience."

Rounding out singles at No. 4 is Vince Umberger, a freshman who Bostick said plays like a junior.

"Doesn't get excited," Bostick said. "Doesn't get ruffled. He just goes out and stays calm, wins games."

Shepard has replaced Simoncello as Asaithambi's partner at No. 1 doubles and the two are undefeated. The No. 2 pairing is Radford and Umberger, who happen to be cousins. They are 4-1.

The No. 3 doubles team is senior Cam Johnson and junior Nick Fultz. Johnson is the only senior on the team.

Daniella Fragile was the only senior on the girls team last year. Everyone else is back, starting with top seed Abby Dillon.

"Super dedicated, really hard-nosed," Bostick said. "She's just a phenomenal athlete."

Bostick said No. 2 seed Dalya Hasan is "probably our best technical player. She moves the ball around very well. She thinks two or three shots ahead to score."

At No. 3 is junior Izzy Umberger, Vince's big sister.

"Very competitive," Bostick said. "Loves to play at the net, and just a great serve."

Senior Presley Jarrell is the No. 4 seed.

"She's played for four years and is an excellent doubles partner," Bostick said.

Jarrell pairs with Umberger to form the No. 2 doubles team behind Dillon and Hasan.

The No. 3 doubles duo is Nicole Mourad and Reese Green, both sophomores.

"Reese is really good at the net," Bostick said, "and Mourad has great groundstrokes."

The Flying Eagles will head to Morgantown Thursday for the three-day Regional Rumble. They will be joined there by Morgantown, University, Jefferson, Washington, Parkersburg, Williamstown and Hurricane.

"You get to play some of the best players in the state, in singles and doubles," Bostick said. "Where we're at, four teams in our region don't even have full teams."