At the beginning of the spring season, Flint Hill boys tennis head coach Ed Jalinske set both short-term and long-term goals for the Huskies. The short-term goal was to focus and prepare for each individual match. The long-term goal was to win their third-consecutive Virginia Independent Schools state championship. With a 11-0 regular-season record, including a 5-4 win over public school power Robinson, the Huskies have achieved their short-term goal. As for their long-term goal, the top-ranked Huskies will begin their title defense in the VIS tournament starting this week.
“These guys have been on a roll. They are confident but not overly confident. They know what they have to do,” said Jalinske. “These guys are as relaxed and well-rounded as any team that I have been a part of or seen. If there is any nervousness, they do a darn good job of hiding it.”
Leading the Huskies at the No. 1 and No. 2 singles spots are twin seniors Zach and Jon Pine, who have both signed to play tennis at Virginia Tech next year.
“They are both two of the best players in the state and the Mid-Atlantic region,” said Jalinske.
The Pine brothers have been a part of the varsity squad since they were freshmen and have been a part of the Huskies two state titles and two Mid-Atlantic Conference crowns. This season featured a first for the Pines, however, as Flint Hill’s undefeated record was something that wasn’t accomplished over the past three years.
“We have an extraordinary group of guys that put forth the effort,” said Zach of his squad.
At the No. 3 and No. 4 singles are juniors Garrett Widing and Brian Randolph.
“These guys are hard working, they are fighters. They have worked very hard to get where they are,” said Jalinske, who added the Widing and Randolph will take over as leaders of the team when the Pine brothers graduate.
Two freshmen, Philip Nelson and Drew Neils, round out the Huskies’ singles lineup.
“We have talent. These guys know that they have talent and they have depth all down the roster,” said Jalinske. “Flint Hill is putting itself on the map as a tennis powerhouse. I see it going nowhere but up.”
Flint Hill opened up their VIS tournament schedule by hosting Trinity Episcopal on Tuesday, with the next round taking place on Friday and the finals kicking off the next day.