Senior-Laden Kenwood Tennis Enjoying Banner Season

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Kenwood's tennis team is playing as well as anyone in Baltimore County this season.

The Bluebirds are 6-1 this year, which includes victories against Owings Mills, Lansdowne and Dundalk. In recent years, Kenwood's team had struggled to pick up wins, but the Bluebirds are changing that narrative this season.

"We've struggled the last few seasons, but most of the individual matches were closely contested," head coach Fletcher Burchett said. "This year's seniors have been the core of the team for the last three years, and they are putting that experience to good use."

Kenwood has nine seniors this year. Four of those seniors are the team's top singles players- Isaiah Gregory and Tahjai Ellington for the boys, and Deeksha Walia and Mackinley Sifuentes for the girls. The group of four has done an excellent job of consistently winning their matches, which puts the team in great position for when the doubles matches are to be played.

Sifuentes has led the team in terms of results, standing at 7-0 in the girls #2 slot. Not only has she won every contest she's played, but she's won each match in straight sets.

"Mackinley Sifuentes and Deeksha Walia are both very consistent, but also capable of hitting aggressive angled shots when the opportunity presents itself," Burchett said.

On the boys side, Gregory and Ellington both hold 5-2 records.

"Isaiah has a very strong serve that wins him a lot of points and has the hardest ground stroke on the team," Burchett said. "Tahjai is the fastest player on the team, and regularly runs down shots that would be winners against anyone else."

Kenwood's record has put the team in a good position to have a strong finish to the end of the season. The Bluebirds are in second in their division, trailing only Sparrows Point. If Kenwood remains in that position by the end of the year, Burchett says the team would consider it an excellent accomplishment.

Beyond the regular season, Burchett hopes his athletes can make an impact in the postseason. A good showing at the Baltimore County tournament would be great and is definitely possible, but Burchett is also hoping Kenwood will see a couple of its players gain entry to the regional qualifier, which would be a first for the Bluebirds in quite some time.

Regardless of where the team finishes the season, it's clear this year's group has raised the standards and expectations for Kenwood's tennis program.

"I'm very glad the senior class gets to finish with a winning season after they've played hard for three years with only a few wins," Burchett said. "I'm also excited to see the progress our first-year players are making because we're really going to need them to step up next year."
April 20th, 2016By: Wick Eisenberg

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