SIDNEY — Donovan Gregory can sympathize with the majority of Sidney High School’s tennis opponents this season. The Yellow Jackets’ tennis coach knows all too well what it’s like to go up against Sidney’s top three singles players.
“During practice we’ll hit around. They move me around pretty well,” Gregory said of singles players Prem Dev, Grant Hoying and Akansh Mani.
It’s not just Gregory getting the run around this season. Mix in doubles players Broc Bey, Jersain Brux, TJ Leonard, Kazuma Okada, Nobel Zhou and Tyler Overholser and the Yellow Jackets have been on a historic pace this season.
Sidney’s 15 wins this season are the most in the Greater Western Ohio Conference era, topping the previous high of 13 in both 2017 and 2018. The Yellow Jackets (15-3) are also two wins shy of the school record of 17-4 in 1975.
“I felt we would win a handful of matches,” Gregory said. “Our goal was to win the (GWOC American) North. I knew we would be able to compete with any team we played, unfortunately we came up short in that Troy match.”
Sidney sits fourth in the American North division at 7-2 following losses to Troy (4-1) on April 18 and Butler (3-2) on Wednesday. Sidney’s last conference title is believed to be the Miami Central Conference championship in 1976.
Though the Yellow Jackets won’t end that drought this year, there’s still much to celebrate. Sidney beat rivals Piqua (4-0) and Lehman (3-2) and knocked off area tennis powers Tippecanoe (3-2), Milton-Union (3-2) and Kettering Fairmont (3-2) this season.
Last season Sidney beat Greenville for the first time in 20 seasons.
With a talented group there could be more in store. Dev, a junior, is 14-4 at No. 1 singles. He holds the school record for wins at 53.
“He’s been holding down our No. 1 spot all year,” Gregory said. “He’s a great defensive player. He’s patient and kind of wears down his opponent. He does a great job with that.”
Hoying, a freshman, is 17-1 at No. 2 singles and Mani, a sophomore, is 15-0 at No. 3 singles.
“Grant has stepped in and has been playing lights out. He’s had a great year. It’s nice to have Grant for another three years,” Gregory said. “Mani has played outstanding. He’s able to move anybody he plays around. I’m pretty lucky to have him as a No. 3. … Any given night the singles players can compete with each other. It’s a nice problem to have.”
Bey, Brux, Leonard and Okada have seen the bulk of the action at doubles, with Zhou and Overholser also seeing time. The No. 2 doubles team of Leonard and Zhou came up big against Milton-Union to secure the victory for Sidney. Brux also has surpassed 25 career wins in doubles.
“They’ve been having a blast. They were so excited to beat those teams,” Gregory said. “They’ve been outstanding for me this year doing some great things. … The whole team is doing a great job. They’re playing some great tennis against our best opponents. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”