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Many athletes exceeded their own expectations this season and reached the state tournament.



Published: Mon, July 8, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Many athletes exceeded their own expectations this season and reached the state tournament.

SHALIN SHAH

School: Canfield

Grade: Senior

Statistics/accomplishments: Advanced to quarterfinals at state tournament; runner-up in doubles tournament with Chris Kuppler in 2001.

Positive influence: Chris Kuppler. Seeing him work very hard motivates me.

Best memory: Playing in front of a large crowd at the state meet during my three set match against the finalist.

Surprised to learn: I'm sweet at Ping-Pong; I'm a vegetarian; I'm Indian, but I hate Indian food; and a Sketchers scout wanted me to model for them.

CHRIS KUPPLER

School: Canfield

Grade: Junior

Statistics/accomplishments: Went 19-1 during regular season.

Positive influence: My brother, Kevin, was there for me the whole season. He was my hitting partner when I couldn't find anyone to hit with. We cheered each other during tough matches and we work out together throughout the year. After some tough losses, he was my psychiatrist who kept me grounded. It was really nice to have him around all year.

Best memory: When I won my flight in No. 2 singles at the Lexington Tournament. I was in the zone for all my matches that day. In the finals, I beat a kid who thought he was going to walk all over me. The look on his face after that match was priceless.

Surprised to learn: I play golf year-round. I play every day in the summer and I'm always looking for a day above freezing during the winter to play. I am right around par now and I'm hoping to shoot under par very soon.

COLIN LAROUERE

School: Poland

Grade: Senior

Statistics/accomplishments: State semifinalist in doubles; twice earned All-MAC and twice earned all-SVC honors; earned first team All-Ohio honors this season.

Positive influence: My parents. They've always been there to support and encourage me. They've traveled around the country with me since I was little and never said I couldn't go to a tournament.

Best memory: Traveling to Columbus for the state tournament and making it into the semifinals. We were the first boys tennis team in school history to make it into the tournament and that made finishing fourth really special.

Surprised to learn: When I was little, I started to play tennis because I wanted to do something my other brothers and sisters didn't do. I used to sneak out of swim practice to go hit tennis balls.

BRIAN MEEK

School: Ursuline

Grade: Junior

Statistics/accomplishments: Won No. 2 singles at Steel Valley Conference Meet; won sectional tournament; advanced to state doubles tournament as a sophomore.

Positive influence: My grandfather. He's always been there to take me to tournaments or lessons. He has always put me first and encouraged me to do better.

Best memory: Coming in second at this season's Jackson tournament.

Surprised to learn: In addition to playing tennis, I also teach beginners.

DONALD PERSON

School: Ursuline

Grade: Junior

Statistics/accomplishments: Won No. 1 singles at SVC Meet; advanced to state singles tournament as a sophomore.

Positive influence: My parents because they have always supported me.

Best memory: Our road trip to the Jackson tournament.

Surprised to learn: I have asthma.

MATT SHEETS

School: Fitch

Grade: Senior

Statistics/accomplishments: Louisville doubles champion; fourth place finish at sectional tournament; first Fitch team members to advance to district tournament in 10 years; first-team All-SVC; fifth person to reach 50 or more wins in school history.

Positive influence: My father. He has always kept me motivated when I was down or out and pushed me even harder when I was on top.

Best memory: Upsetting the North Canton Hoover doubles team to qualify for the district meet in Cleveland.

Surprised to learn: I love the game of tennis and I'm going to play at Walsh University while studying pre-medicine.

DAN SPENCER

School: Fitch

Grade: Senior

Statistics/accomplishments: Career tennis record of 48-35; won Louisville doubles tournament; first Fitch tennis players to make it into district tournament in 10 years; team MVP; four-year letterwinner; Academic All-Ohio.

Positive influence: Coach Sachire. He would always work with me in the offseason and encourage me to raise my level of play. He gave me everything I needed. He's a great coach.

Best memory: Winning the Louisville doubles tournament. We won both the doubles title and team title. This was one of our goals since we were freshman so to finally win it made this a season to remember.

Surprised to learn: I am pursuing a career as a singer/songwriter. I've been playing piano and guitar and writing songs for five years. I'm working on my first album, which I'm co-producing with recording engineer Jim Meese.

JASON TRAPP

School: Howland

Grade: Junior

Statistics/accomplishments: Advanced to state tournament in doubles; went 8-1 in No. 1 doubles; went 4-2 in No. 3 singles.

Positive influence: My two brothers, Kevin and Ryan, who always push me.

Best memory: Beating Avon Lake at the district tournament to advance to state.

Surprised to learn: I lettered in golf and played in the conference cup.

RYAN TRAPP

School: Howland

Grade: Sophomore

Statistics/accomplishments: Went 13-3 in No. 1 singles; Advanced to state tournament in doubles.

Positive influence: My dad because he has been helpful in any sport I've played and tries to help me as much as he can.

Best memory: Eating the Sloppy Joe's that our assistant Pam Copp made for us after the Poland match.

Surprised to learn: I've also lettered in track and cross country and was All-MAC last year in cross country.

COACH OF THE YEAR

JANICE WILSON

School: Poland

Positive influence: My father has always had the perfect balance between support and "pushing." When I was learning to play, my father, two brothers and I would go to the tennis courts and play or my father would get a hopper full of balls and we would practice together. I thought I would take my senior year off from tennis but that didn't fly with my father. I had to play and it led to a tennis scholarship to YSU. I thank him for that "push" all the time.

Best memory: The banquet. We had such a wonderful season and so much to be proud of. It gave me great pleasure to give them the awards they deserved. It was hard for me to say goodbye to the two seniors. I have so many memories with them and they made me laugh so hard. It was a bittersweet end to the season. I was so fortunate to have such a great group of guys who made the whole season memorable.

Surprised to learn: This was the first time I had ever coached. I was asked to coach the boys tennis team about two weeks before the season started and I had no idea what to do, but I must have done something right since a couple players advanced to the state meet. But there are definitely some things I would have changed and I learned a lot this season.




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