ARLINGTON — The Eagles hosted the Bearcats on Thursday, Sept. 19, winning 5-2 and showing that No. 1 singles player — senior Trent Sarver — will be tough to beat this season.
Arlington graduated a number of players last season so it’s a relatively young team.
“We’ve been the tale of two cities — last year our team graduated 12 players so our varsity program is an entirely different team. After our No. 1 and No. 2 players, we have seven guys who haven’t played varsity before,” said Head Coach Sean Cunningham.
Despite the youth of this team, Arlington has had success — both with their top two players and with the new crop of underclassmen.
“Things are coming into shape. I’m not sure how many wins we will have as a team but we are trying to be competitive — we did beat Monroe,” said Cunningham. “Our team as a whole is young. Our No. 1 and No. 2 both have varsity experience — in fact, this is Trent’s third year as our No. 1 player. Last year he finished 9-7 and qualified for districts. This year, he is off to a good start because he hasn’t lost yet. He beat the top 4A guys in the North and the top 3A guy in the North. He has shown resilience and shown his strength. He was super competitive last year, but on tight matches the ball bounced the other way, so I think the fact that he stays in control of the match is a sign of maturity. He is our team captain and he has taken the team under his wing.”
Outside of Sarver, Arlington has Connor Ghirardo, a solid No. 2 singles player with a successful career so far.
“He is only a junior, but he is co-captain with Trent, so he can take over that leadership role next season,” said Cunningham. “He had a really successful year last year — he was 11-5 and he played mostly third and fourth singles. Connor is a methodical, mental player. His consistency keeps him in the matches he has played. He’s played really tight matches and succeeded — both were three set matches and both were top guys. He has been playing really well.”
Both Ghirardo and Sarver have hopes of making it to the district championships, while Sarver is looking to take his final season one step further.
“Both have the goal of making it to districts, and Trent wants to make it to state, which is a tough road,” said Cunningham. “We’ve had our first run through the North, we finish with Lake Stevens, and he hasn’t lost to any of the guys. He has a good chance of going through the first eight matches 8-0, but his challenge will come from the South. Jackson, Cascade and Kamiak’s No. 1 players — that’s where he will be able to measure where he is going to be, because those are the people who he is going to have to get through to make it to state.”
Sarver defeated Monroe’s Garrett Ansberry, 6-1 and 6-0, while Ghirardo defeated Nick Bruton 6-3, 6-1. Coleman Davis defeated Dillon Bull 6-1, 6-4. In doubles play, Nicholas Mendro and Glen Gamboa defeated Andy Johansen and Jared Suggs, 7-6, 7-6. Isaiah Mitzelfeldt and Cameron Reece defeated Edmund Lai and Alex Johnson, 6-2, 4-6, and 7-5.
“Trent is definitely the top guy in the North,” said Cunningham. “It’s just measuring him against the guys in the south that will be the challenge. That’s why it’s interesting, because on the one hand we have a guy who has a real shot at state, and then a bunch of guys who have never played varsity before. A lot of our matches will be 5-2, 4-3, but we bring essentially the whole team back next year.”
Arlington hosts Lynnwood on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 3:30 p.m.