Tennis teams start season just outside top 25


Story by Jenna

The Baker men’s and women’s tennis teams are entering the spring season with feats foreign to Baker tennis history. Both teams have received votes to be in the top 25 teams in the nation.

Leading the men’s team is senior Spartak Rahachou. With a national appearance in the fall, Rahachou enters the spring season ranked No. 5 in the nation and No. 1 in the region. Rahachou and his doubles partner, sophomore Blake Barnard, also made a debut in the doubles rankings at No. 14 in the country and third in the region. Barnard also ranks No. 47 individually and No. 10 regionally. Other returners include 2015 NAIA scholar-athlete Aaron Greenbaum, juniors Gavin Webster and Dylan Geick, and sophomores Austin Keberlein, Thomas Irick, and Brandon Lloyd.

Three freshmen have joined the team: Conner Petty, Caleb Book, and Taylor Ficke. Ficke has made an immediate impact on the team and plays in the No. 3 spot on the roster.

The men are ranked third in the Heart of America Athletic Conference, but look to finish at the top of the Heart this spring.

“I don’t know if people would expect us to win conference, but we feel like we can do it,” junior Gavin Webster said.

On the women’s side, senior Megan Henry hopes to end her tennis career on a high note. Henry and sophomore Brooke Barnard are entering Henry’s final season ranked 18th in the country and fifth regionally. Barnard also ranks 17th individually in the region. According to Henry, the women’s team has improved enormously over the past four years. She believes the success is due to head coach Joe Ahmadian’s recruiting.

The women’s team has one newcomer, freshman Morgan Francis. Francis plays in the second spot in doubles and competes at the top of the roster for singles.

“Those are two pretty strong positions, especially for a freshman,” junior Jaimie Myers said. “She has a really good mentality, works hard and plays to win.”

Other returners include sophomores Holly Chestnut, Kinsey Ford, Amy Wysong, Cassie Long, Taylor Swartzendruber and Amber Stubbs. The women’s team is ranked second in the Heart behind Evangel University.

“If we come to practice with the intent to get better every day and come to matches ready to compete for every point, the accomplishments will follow,” Ahmadian said.

Baker is hosting nine matches this season, the first one being at 1 p.m. on March 9 against Central College.