PARKERSBURG -Tradition goes a long way when members shuffle in and out of the program.
Take Parkersburg High School for example.
The Big Reds lost nearly a dozen members to graduation entering the 2013 campaign but they are right back at the top of the heap as they embark on the Class AAA, Region I tournament beginning today at West Liberty University.
All seven entries in both the boys and girls division are seeded in their respective tennis bracket.
If the tournament was played on paper, six girls entries and five boys entries for PHS would advance to state.
However, the Big Reds must deal with the likes of University, Morgantown and Parkersburg South over the course of the next two days. Matches begin at 10 a.m.
"We have a lot of kids who have put in the extra hours wanting to be good because that's the tradition here and they know that," PHS coach Pam Reeves said. "Losing 11 or 12 seniors, you hope people are ready to step into a role. And many of these kids came win willing, ready and able - which was a pleasant surprise. Especially with the freshmen."
Giving PHS its best prospects are Cassandra Powell (No. 1 singles), Amber Kesterson (No. 2 singles) and Sheridan White (No. 3 singles), along with the team of Powell and Kesterson in No. 1 doubles, Katie Stanley and Katie Gnegy in No. 2 doubles and Kristen Calebaugh and Jennifer Riffle in No. 3 doubles.
On the boys side, the Big Reds have high hopes for Saaman Ghodsi (No. 1 singles), Alexander D'Costa (No. 2 singles), Tristram Spitsnaugle (No. 3 singles), along with Ghodsi and D'Costa at No. 1 doubles and Spitsnaugle and Josh Roberts at No. 2 doubles.
For the South girls, their fate depends heavily on how they fare against John Marshall - the school it opposes in four of the seven opening matches. Olivia Osborn (No. 1 singles), Regan Hanlon (No. 2 singles) and Jessie Mongilio (No. 3 singles) have the best opportunities for the Patriots
For the South boys, Brandon Galici (No. 1 singles) and Grant Tebay (No. 3 singles), along with Galici and Garrett Dailey at No. 1 doubles, and Tebay and Carednas at No. 2 doubles are seeded to advance.
"Our No. 2 doubles has a chance and Garrett (at No. 4 singles) could go if he is playing well," South coach Scott Ash said.
Ripley is lone area school paying a visit to the Kanawha City Community Center in Charleston to compete in Class AAA, Region III.
Tennis will be at a surplus in Parkersburg starting at 4 p.m. today - for both Region I at City Park and Region IV at Erickson All-Sports Facility.
For region I, Williamstown will join Parkersburg Catholic and Wahama for a field at City Park which includes powerhouse Charleston Catholic. The Irish boys have claimed the last seven state titles and eight of the last nine, while their girls squad has claimed the past five state titles.
Parkersburg Catholic owns several contenders with three of its four girls (Jillie Wiseman at No. 2, Erica Tracewell at No. 3 and Kate Clowes at No. 4) earning a top four seed in singles. The Crusaderettes' No. 1 doubles team of Wiseman and Tracewell, along with the No. 2 duo of Audrey Eisenmann and Clowes also earned a top four seed.
"All my girls are athletic - I think they can do good things," PCHS coach Ignacio Cardenas said. "Both of my boys (Luke Cardenas and Peter Keiser) are playing well and could cause some noise."
Across town at the Erickson All-Sports Facility for Region III, St. Marys has made a strong impression on the boys side after finishing the regular season with a 14-1 record. Four of the Blue Devils' seven entries earned a top seed in their respective bracket.
Having legitimate hopes of advancing for the Blue Devils are Sam Maston (No. 1 singles), Drew Poling (No. 2 singles), Marcus Moore (No. 3 singles) and A.J. Harris (No. 4 singles). The doubles lineup is as follows: Maston and Poling at No. 1 doubles, Moore and Harris at No. 2 doubles, and Nicholas Beaty and Eli Stewart at No. 3 doubles.
"I just want them to go out there and compete hard, and the rest will take of itself," St. Marys coach Tad Light said.