By: John Raffel
Okemos continues its boys tennis dynasty
Okemos tennis coach Chris Silker will have fond memories of the 2018-19 sports season.
His program continues to be dominant across the state.
Silker has been the boy tennis coach for nine seasons. For the 2018-19 campaign, the team was 23-1 overall and 7-0 in the CAAC for its eighth straight conference title.
“The season was an overwhelming success,” Silker said. “For the second year in a row we completed the season as Division 2 state champions with 36 out of 40 possible points. No. 1-4 singles and No. 1-2 doubles all won their flights. Three doubles was flight runner up and four doubles was eliminated in the semi-finals.
“The only disappointment was our sole loss to the defending and eventual repeat Division 1 championship team Bloomfield Hills. We were missing two key players that resulted in a very close 5-3 loss.”
At No. 1 singles “Ozan Colak battled multiple injuries in his freshman season and still put together a great run at the end of the season to put together a dominant performance at the state final,” Silker said. “Even though he wasn't 100 percent, he gritted out a tough win against an excellent opponent in Nathaniel Webster.
“At No. 2 and 3 singles Josh Portnoy and Ben Letzer were very close throughout the season from tryouts that set the lineup in close 3 set matches. They then pushed each other to great heights through the season.”
The No. 1 doubles team consisted of the sole seniors on the squad with Zal Chinoy and Daniel Goreli.
“They polished off a fantastic career at Okemos, finishing their season as state champs and a season record of 30-1,” Silker said. “Next year we hope to return all players. but with such talent on the team, it is possible other commitments to higher level tennis may get in the way. Time will tell. We have opted up to the Division 1 for the next two seasons and still hope to be state title contenders in the larger league.
“The team credits our close, family atmosphere and culture with our success and are extremely fortunate to have incredibly dedicated players and families that support and compete for our organization. As coach, I gain enormous assistance each season from parents, particularly Sri Talluri who is a key part of our success and alumni Parth Redey. Both offer critical coaching, and support to the team.”