Sports

Staudenraus, Giddings set to resume competition for SK’s top singles spot for top singles role

Senior Blake Staudenraus returns for his final season in a familiar position — battling for the top singles spot.  - File photo
Senior Blake Staudenraus returns for his final season in a familiar position — battling for the top singles spot.
— image credit: File photo

It is a role reversal.

When senior Blake Staudenraus moved from Italy to Port Orchard in 2007, his immediate goal was to challenge Dalton Vavra for the No. 1 singles position at South Kitsap.

Vavra graduated in 2008, but ascending to the top spot does not figure to be much easier for Staudenraus this year.

He again will be challenged by junior Dakota Giddings, who shared the No. 1 position with Staudenraus last year.

“It always is fun watching them battle at practice every day,” South coach Todd Olson said.

Staudenraus agreed.

“We’re both really competitive,” he said. “I’m going to step up and play No. 1 singles.”

The rest of the lineup could be just as competitive. In addition to Staudenraus and Giddings, the Wolves advanced all three of their doubles teams to the league tournament last season.

It was the first time in school history that all of the school’s singles and doubles teams qualified for the playoffs, and most of those players return.

Only Fred Bell and Gavin Klein, who served as the No. 1 doubles team, graduated.

But with the amount of Class 4A teams in the Narrows League shrinking from 11 to eight — six schools entered the league’s new 3A division — there will be fewer singles and doubles players advancing to the playoffs.

Because of that, Olson said either Staudenraus or Giddings likely will become a No. 1 doubles player to enhance their ability to qualify for the postseason. He said two players from Olympia alone — sophomore John Stormans and junior Blake Wood — likely will earn two of the Narrows’ singles spots.

If Staudenraus or Giddings ends up playing doubles, Olson said the No. 2 singles position likely will go to senior Zach Prince, who has singles experience from last year.

“We have a lot of depth this year,” said Olson, adding that another senior, Isaac Roinas, also could play singles. “We have so many top guys that are all about the same level.”

Prince or Roinas then would partner with whomever is not playing in the top singles spot. Olson said the last two doubles teams likely will include sophomores Austin Hammer, Matthew Lyman, Austin Wilson and Shawn Lange, who is returning after missing last year with a broken foot.

That means the Wolves have experience at nearly every varsity position.

“We don’t make any of those freshman mistakes,” Olson said. “There is a little more intensity right off the bat.”

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