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Seniors ready to lead CHS boys varsity tennis

Several Claremont High School teams, including baseball and boys soccer, had to start from scratch this year with a whole crop of freshmen. Boys tennis has the opposite problem, they have a whole crop of seniors.

Only number-one singles and Palomares League champion Leyton Bohren graduated last year so Claremont retains their top four doubles players as well as the number two singles. While this is a fantastic situation for the moment, with six seniors and very little new blood, it creates a potential problem for next year—but that is getting too far ahead.

The one new face in the queue is actually Bohren’s younger brother, Brody Bohren, who, like his brother is a talented singles player. 

“We exchanged one Bohren for another,” Coach Kathy Settles said. “I think we have a lot of experience because most of these guys have been on varsity for four years. But we will wait and see how we play in the big moments.”

The Palomares League championship duo of Ben Stapp and Andrew Weisman will be a force throughout league play and the pair is the odds on favorite to defend their title in May. Andrew’s twin brother, Jason Weisman, will take over the number one singles spot while the younger Bohren steps in as number two.

On Tuesday the team worked on some game based drills to strengthen their skills in advance of a challenging preseason. That schedule includes a tough match at Redlands High on February 27, followed by another potentially difficult bout with Claremont’s former rival Diamond Bar on March 6. League begins on March 12 with a home match against Alta Loma.

Coach Settles predicts that, similar to last year, Ayala will be the team to beat and, also as happened in 2018, the Pack’s final regular season meet will be against the Bulldogs in Chino Hills.

“It’s going to be a tight one with Ayala again. It seems to be the way it is with the two schools,” she said.

Like everyone else in Southern California this winter, boys tennis has had to deal with cancellations because of the weather. The boys opening match against Etiwanda was cancelled as well as most of the scheduled practices. Similarly, and quite annoyingly, rain threatened on Wednesday and Claremont chose to postpone until Friday a planned match with Damien.

“We were getting out here [to practice] on weekends and both Monday holidays. Any time it was dry we have been trying to get practice in,” Coach Settles said.

The inaugural Southern California High School Mixed Doubles Challenge, which was a fundraiser for both girls and boys tennis at CHS, had to be rescheduled four times. The event, which was Coach Settles’ idea, pairs a doubles team of a girl and a boy from each participating school. They finally got some clear skies and held the match at CHS on Monday, albeit with a smaller field.

“We had 20 teams originally signed up for it but literally four dates got rained out. By the time we finally played it yesterday we were down to 11 teams,” Coach Settles said.

With the exception of boys volleyball, the weather has been a disruption for all spring sports, which will likely create some logistical headaches as the season progresses. The good news is that after the current storm passes through, no new rain is forecast for the week ahead.

Rain or shine, Coach Settles continues her improvement plans for the CHS tennis courts. On March 15, the teams will be installing the second beautification project with plants donated by Armstrong Garden Centers. In addition, Coach Settles plans to purchase more legacy signs that honor CHS tennis champions of the past.

One of those signs bears the name of Leyton Bohren. “We have a rich legacy here,” Coach Settles said. “There have been a lot of great players, and when Brody comes here and sees his brother’s name he will see how [Leyton] contributed to the program.”

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com