by Tom Utescher

In the first rainy weeks of spring, no teams have struggled as much with their schedules as area tennis squads, whose sport is not at all suited to wet weather.

Chestnut Hill Academy opened its 2011 racquet campaign with a loss to Friends Central back on St. Patrick’s Day, but since then it’s been a battle just to get players onto a reasonably dry court for a scheduled match. Recently, the Blue Devils saw their Inter-Ac League opener with Germantown Academy go by the boards, along with an encounter with a nearby non-league opponent, Springfield High School.

In any event, CHA was missing its number one player, sophomore Sam Shropshire, all last week. A regular on the junior tournament circuit, he was out in California participating in 2011 edition of the USTA National Spring Championships, better known as the Easter Bowl.

Shropshire’s mother, the former Diane Morrison, was a three-time All-American at Stanford University and played on the pro tour. His older sister Theresa, a Germantown Friends senior whose focus is more on squash than tennis, will also attend Stanford.

This spring, the Inter-Ac League has followed the lead of the PIAA schools and has adopted a three-singles, four-doubles match format.

“The idea is to involve more players in the matches,” explained CHA coach Larry Hyde. “The singles players at a lot of schools are participating in tournaments throughout the year, but for many of the doubles guys the school team is at the heart of their tennis experience.”

Vying for the second and third singles spots in the Blue Devils’ line-up are the Moss brothers, Josh, a freshman, and Andrew, a senior tri-captain for CHA.

The other team captains are seniors Elliot Baxter and Nick DiDonato. At this stage of the season Baxter is partnered with fellow upperclassman Peter Lynn at first doubles. Lynn has been a mainstay on the school’s squash team, but is out for tennis for the first time this year.

DiDonato has been playing with sophomore Christian Dorff at second doubles, and the third tandem consists of junior Crosby Harris and sophomore Tim Ogle.

At number four are sophomore Alex McCall and freshman Harrison Tracy. Coach Hyde indicated that Tracy could also go solo in situations where CHA will be playing a fourth singles match.

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