After earning a share of the Pacific Coast Athletic League Mission Division championship last season, the Hollister High boys tennis team returned with another solid squad for 2023.
The Haybalers—despite having tremendous inexperience in the three doubles slots—have posted a 7-4 league record. A 5-2 loss to first-place Oakwood on April 18 prevented Hollister from a repeat title, but now it looks forward to the league singles and doubles tournament. For most of the season, the lineup features senior Andy Nguyen at No. 1 singles, junior Callum Dolan at No. 2, sophomore Shane Wilbur at No. 3 and sophomore Baron Recht at No. 4.
The six players making up the three doubles teams are all new to the sport. That includes Miles Gamble and Claudio Planas at No. 1 doubles, Jack Sarringhaus and Albert Teliha at No. 2, and Andrew Hubbard and Noah Swanton at No. 3.
“All of our doubles players never played tennis before, and our goal is to keep the ball going over the net at all costs,” Haybalers coach Rick Espino said. “We’re fortunate all the other doubles teams in the league are inexperienced just like us.”
The singles players have been remarkably consistent, usually winning their respective matches. Nguyen comes from a tennis family as his older brother occupied the No. 1 spot last season. Andy Nguyen was the No. 2 in 2022 and assumed the top spot on the team this season.
“Andy played behind his brother the last three years so it’s really good to see him come out on his own,” Espino said. “He’s unorthodox in the way he holds the racket, but he’s really standing out because of the skillset he has. He also listens and takes direction well and has really been focused on improving his game.”
Dolan has also won the majority of his matches and plays with confidence to match.
“Callum has really come on strong and his all-around game has gotten good,” Espino said.
Wilbur is the team’s most improved player, moving up a bunch of spots in the lineup after playing No. 2 and 3 doubles last season. Recht has made a similar jump as he played No. 3 doubles in 2022.
“Baron is another guy who has stepped up,” Espino said. “What we’re banking on is winning all four singles because our doubles are all beginners. They’ve never played before so it’s a struggle. They might not have all the skills, but they don’t give up. They chase down every ball and if we do win this season, it’s because these guys are relentless in going after every ball.”
On April 15, the school had a ceremony renaming the tennis court facility after Stan Breslauer, in honor of the retired HHS teacher who founded the boys tennis program in 1964 and the girls team in 1975.