Radnor – The Radnor High School boys’ tennis team rushed the court May 5 to mob their teammate Brad Burton, who had just emerged victorious in a three-set marathon at third singles, thereby capping a 4-3 win against rival Lower Merion and completing a 10-0 Central League run.
The Red Raiders are celebrating the team’s winningest season in 23 years, and is doing so with enthusiasm, team spirit and a core group of seniors.
“We have seven seniors on varsity,” said Radnor coach Skip Shoemaker. “Those are the kind of years when you have your best chance…when you have that kind of experience.”
“Coach Shoe,” as the players call him, said his players all worked hard in the off season. His No. 1 and No. 2 singles players, Will Frigerio and Josh Taylor, focus on tennis year round, with Frigerio intending to play at Trinity College next year in the competitive NESCAC conference.
Frigerio has led the team for each of the past three years at No. 1 singles. In a repeat of last year, the Radnor singles effort has been successful this season with Frigerio and Taylor each posting a 12-3 record and Brad Burton 13-4. Burton also plays soccer and ice hockey for Radnor.
“With our top three seniors returning, we could focus on getting our doubles teams going,” said Shoemaker, to round out the 11 varsity players that won in showdowns with local rivals Conestoga, Harriton and Lower Merion.
The doubles’ teams rose to the occasion this spring with superb records for Shoemaker, who has coached Radnor tennis for about 25 years, and also clocked 40 years coaching Radnor wrestling.
In the regular season, Radnor was able to field four doubles teams. During the regular season, Radnor had junior Jonathan Davis (11-6) and freshman Ethan Lee (11-7) at No. 1 doubles. At No. 2 doubles was seniors Noah Offenkrantz (13-1) and Drew Harrington (14-1.) At No. 3 doubles was senior Tom Forte (15-2) and sophomore Robert Frigerio (16-2). At No. 4 doubles, Radnor had senior Eren Ozer (15-2) and junior Patrick Farren (12-1.)
Radnor is able to develop many players, because the school has 10 courts on campus. The coaches don’t make cuts either, keeping 45 players on the team.
“[ 45 ] is way more than any other school,” said Shoemaker. “But because we have more courts than any other team, we can handle more players.”
Shoemaker also has the help of long-time assistant coach Pat Kurz, whose son played at Radnor a decade ago.
“The only negative is that the JV players don’t get as many matches, because we have to spread them out,” said Shoemaker. “And we played three teams that had no JV teams to field.”
Shoemaker said when the team faces a less competitive team, he can rotate in other players to let them get some match time. Younger players Colton Markowitz and Luigi Giacomucci were able to play some varsity matches this year, for instance.
The Raiders were seeded second in the districts team tournament Monday, and made it past the first hurdle, defeating Upper Dublin High School. Districts includes the best teams from Bucks, Montgomery, Chester and Delaware counties. Only the top four teams at Districts make it to States.