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Nicholas Patrick, Alleman: The freshman is a blue chip tennis recruit and one of the top-ranked players in the country in his class. He is ranked No. 1 in Illinois and 14th nationally in the Class of 2025. Patrick has played high-level players across the country and spent the summer training in Naples, Fla.
Moline’s Ankit Rajvanshi and Macomb senior Connor Lukkarinen have over 6-1, 6-0 singles wins to start the season.
Local veteran tennis coach Bill Allee is back to coach the Pioneers this season. Allee says Patrick looks like “the real deal” so far.
“(Patrick’s) continued development and how well the rest of the players will progress through the course of the season,” Allee said. “We should be relevant in both the conference and sectional.”
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Ankit Rajvanshi, Moline: The sophomore singles player finished fourth in his first season at state for the Class 2A sectional. Rajvanshi was also the No. 2 seed and singles runner-up in last year’s Western Big 6 Conference meet, falling to Quincy’s top-seeded senior Caleb Vonderheide.
Coach Rick Mellinger said Moline’s young team is looking to gain experience this year.
“If we are going to finish the top half of the conference this year, we will have a hard study and a quick study,” he said.
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Geneseo: The Maple Leafs were the Big 6 runner-up by two points in their first season at the Conference Quincy, which won a second straight conference title.
Geneseo lost state doubles qualifiers Mason Miller and Thomas Robinson to graduation, along with Mason Smith.
However, Smith’s doubles partner, junior Alex Slaymaker, is back after winning two of their first two matches at state and a fourth round of consolation. The run included a win over a seeded opponent in the first round. The two were Geneseo’s first duo to win their first two matches at state.
State singles qualifier and junior Samuel Robinson is also back for the Leafs, which have three other juniors with varsity experience back.
Slaymaker is 5-1 in singles and 2-1 in doubles with Robinson to open season.
United Township: The Panthers have their entire varsity lineup back this season, anchored by senior doubles partners Dylan Kastner and Kawl Mang. The two made some school history last season as UT’s first state doubles qualifiers in the division with at least 38 years remaining. Kasnter and Mang also took on doubles in the Big 6 meet.
Rounding out the lineup are fellow seniors, Josh Lear, Dylan Filby and St. Ambrose tennis commit Marcus Lang and junior Colin Manion.
This will be Coach Diego Cross’ last season with the helm after being an assistant 2008 and head coach since 2016.
“I have been coached here for the past 14 years and personally, I can’t really afford them back to the state, but I would love to get others to state this year,” Cross said.