Boys' tennis outlook: Locals looking to end Judges' reign

For more than a decade, the Handley boys’ tennis team has ruled the roost in what is now the Class 4 Northwestern District.

The Judges have put together one of the premier programs in the state with nine state titles to their credit, including two under current head coach Dan Jones.

Class 4 Northwestern District teams have found it a moral victory just to win a single team point against the Judges, much less an entire match.

But, now those opponents sense a chance to knock Handley off the throne.

Unlike in years past, the Judges will have to rely on a mostly unproven lineup. Handley lost its top four singles players from last season’s 19-1 squad. Those four players were also part of the Judges’ three doubles teams, including Region 4C doubles finalists J.H. Herrington and Brendan Love.

Ty Dickson, who played at No. 5 singles, and Nathan Thomas, who was at No. 6 singles, are the lone returnees from a starting lineup that captured the district and Region 4C titles last season.

Millbrook (13-6) finished second to the Judges last season, but also suffered huge graduation losses. The Pioneers lost their top four singles players, including district champion Nate Simmons. Ben Yeager, who played at No. 5 last season, is the lone returnee to that lineup for Chris Rogus.

James Wood (8-8) may be the team to beat. Matthew Shepherd’s team returns last season’s top two players Ryan Stevens and Scott Shepherd. Those two will play behind Josh Borromeo, who took a season off from the sport last spring after being the Colonels’ No. 1 player as a sophomore.

James Wood got off to a strong start with an 8-1 win over Skyline on Monday. The Colonels swept the singles and did not play their top two doubles teams.

Sherando (10-8) has a new coach this season as Jason Robertson takes over for Garland Williams. The Warriors also suffered some graduation losses but return No. 1 Tommy Reese, No. 5 Vishan Bhagat and Emmett Gannon, who saw action last season as a freshman.

The Warriors got off to an excellent start with a 7-2 triumph at Harrisonburg on Monday.

Clarke County (6-8) looks to contest for the Bull Run District title. Forrest Pritchard’s squad has plenty of senior experience, including Linus Pritchard, Jack Lucier and Thomas Dalton who are three top players from last season.

The following is a capsule look at the area teams with information provided by the coaches:


Coach: Dan Jones, eighth season

Last year: 19-1, Class 4 Northwestern District regular season and tournament champion, Region 4C champion, Class 4 quarterfinalist.

Key losses: John-Henry Herrington, Brendan Love, Nicholas-Ryan Herrington and Neil Parikh.

Key returners: Nathan Thomas (Sr.); Ty Dickson (Jr.); Carter Bessette (Jr.); Geronimo Dib Ghys (Jr.); Jack Boye (So.); Matthew Bosshard (So.).

Key newcomers: William Brubaker (Fr.).

Jones’ outlook: “The kids had a great off season on the court and in the weight room. Our season expectations are high, but we have a lot work to do and need some things to go our way. If that happens, we could be in the hunt for a district title.”

First match: Thursday vs. Loudoun County


Coach: Chris Rogus, second season

Last year: 13-6, Class 4 Northwestern District runner-up, Region 4C semifinalist

Key losses: Nathan Simmons, Adriano Georgiev, Jack Muldowney, Ian Duckstein

Key returners: Ben Yeager (So.).

Key newcomers: None listed.

Rogus’ outlook: “We are looking to be competitive as always. We are looking at one game at a time. We had a few freshmen come out of nowhere that are showing a lot of promise. Anthony Gelormine looks to have a great base set of skills. We always have a great division with schools staying strong year after year. I expect a lot of close matches with some hard-fought wins.”

First match: Friday vs. Fauquier

James Wood

Head coach: Matthew Shepherd, third season

Last season: 8-8

Key losses: Zach Harris

Key returners: Josh Borromeo (Sr.), Scott Shepherd (Sr.), Ryan Stevens (Sr.)

Key newcomers: Lane Pugh (Sr.), Josh Lucas (Fr.)

Shepherd’s outlook: “With 10 seniors on the team this year, we believe that experience can help us during district play and achieve where we want to be at the end of the season. We have so many kids that have shown improvement from last year to now. They have improved through clinics and lessons after last season and we think they deserve a lot of credit for putting the time and work in to become better players. We expect to compete this year with the best teams in the district and we are excited to see how it all plays out. … I also want to mention that James Wood has a first-year coaching addition to the boys’ program in coach Alexa Venturato. She is a former player at Sherando High School and Washington College, Md. She has contributed so much to the program and to helping the kids get better on the court.”

Next match: Friday vs. Kettle Run


Head coach: Jason Robertson, first season

Last year: 10-8

Key losses: Andrew Bray, Adam Hall, Justin Lee

Key returnees: Tommy Reese (Sr.); Vishan Bhagat (Jr.); Emmett Gannon (So.); Justin Jensen (Jr.).

Key newcomers: Connor Dudley (Jr.); Kieren Lindberg (Jr.); Nathan Hall (So.); Sam Brooks (Fr.); Henry Fitzpatrick (Fr.); Greyson Foltz (Fr.); Glyn Lystrup (Fr.).

Robertson’s outlook: “I expect the team to improve throughout the season and to be playing our best tennis in May. We are fortunate to have a good senior leader in Tommy Reese. All of our returnees have improved with offseason hitting and we have newcomers who will make an immediate impact. Handley typically sets the standard for the district. The rest of us are trying to catch them.”

Next match: Monday at Handley

Clarke County

Head coach: Forrest Pritchard, third season

Last year: 6-8

Key losses: Graham Wolford

Key returners: Linus Pritchard (Sr.); Jack Lucier (Sr.); Thomas Dalton (Sr.); Dominic Boukaia (Sr.); Ethan Ellis (Sr.); Preston Bernier (Jr.); Jonathan Westbrook (So.).

Key newcomers: David Flaherty (So.); Cannon Long (Sr.); Jake Pastore (Fr.); Aden Rounds (Fr.).

Pritchard’s expectations: “Clarke County returns a senior-laden team that finished tied for first place in the 2022 regular season. The singles games should prove competitive, while the doubles teams gradually develop chemistry. Returning district doubles runner-up Thomas Dalton looks to improve to states, while Linus Pritchard [district semifinalist] hopes to progress into the postseason.”

First match: Thursday vs. Warren County

— Contact Walt Moody at
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