Spring break trips have long been instrumental to the success of high school spring sports teams. Such has been the case for the Woodrow Wilson tennis program under veteran head coach Bernie Bostick.
While many programs head south over spring break week, Woodrow Wilson tennis does the opposite and travels north to West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle.
Unfortunately, those plans had to be canceled this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak that has put the Mountain State on lockdown.
"We had already raised the money, reserved the rooms and had taken care of everything," Bostick said about the spring break plans. "We normally play about nine matches which really makes us as a team. We come together socially and everybody gets to play. It is a great team building time and we really get a good idea of how good we are against everybody else."
While the coaches and players are understandably frustrated with the developments, Bostick is clearly in agreement with the decisions made by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission.
"Now the (Eastern Panhandle) is a real hotspot because of the virus," Bostick explained. "Could you imagine if we were in Martinsburg now? We were scheduled to go the Kanawha Valley the following Monday. Everybody would be spreading it around to various people. I agree with the (WVSSAC) 100 percent. This is the real deal and we should stay at home."
After a solid performance at the state tennis tournament last year, which included then-freshman Elysia Salon finishing state runner-up at No. 4 seed singles, the Flying Eagles were anxious to hit the court this year.
"We had some flex time, so we had been working out, lifting weights and getting some running in," Bostick said. "As soon as the weather broke we were out on the courts. We got five days of practice out of six the first week. Then in the second week we got another five days before we had to stop practicing all together.
"We could have weathered a small storm. I wasn't there, but the tennis courts were still open and I had the ball machine out so the kids could come over and use it. They were staying busy working on their own. Now everything is locked up to help with the social distancing."
Leading the girls team this year will be senior Maria Salon. Salon is a four-year player who has made herself a mainstay at the state tournament over her career.
Should the Flying Eagles get back on the court this year, look for the Salon duo to make some heavy noise. Maria will play No. 1 seed singles, while Elysia will play No. 2. The dynamic duo will also combine to play No. 1 seed doubles, forming one of the strongest teams in the state.
Juniors Caroline Booth and Emily Allen will play Nos. 3 and 4 seed singles, respectively, while combining to play No. 2 seed doubles. Junior exchange student Ana Gonzalez and sophomore Jennifer Bair are slated to play No. 3 seed doubles.
On the boys side of the net, Woodrow is led by junior Isaac Roop at No. 1 seed singles and freshman Rahul Ilangovan at No. 2 seed singles. They will combine to play No. 1 seed doubles.
"My boys are really going to be surprising this year," Bostick said. "Isaac and Rahul are starting to hit the ball like men."
Senior Luke Imbing will play No. 3 seed singles, while fellow senior Carl Legson holds down the No. 4 seed singles position. Together they make up the No. 2 seed doubles team.
Senior Jordan Washington and sophomore Dom Rotellini are the No. 3 seed doubles team.
"For a lot of kids, tennis is a seasonal sport since we don't really have any indoor courts," Bostick explained. "Everybody had pretty much worked all year and they were staying after practice using the ball machine. We are really kinda primed and ready to go. Hopefully everybody has been able to play some while we are out."
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