Wolves roll into tourney

Wesleyan has won 30 team state championships since 2001 with variety, getting titles from 10 different programs.

But one of the teams that hasn't gotten in on the trophy haul is boys tennis. That could change this spring.

The Wolves top the Class A boys tennis rankings entering today's state tournament opener against Trion. They are 13-2 overall, bolstered by 11 straight victories, with hopes of matching the Wesleyan girls tennis program, which won state in 2001.

"We're playing with a lot of confidence no matter who we play," said Wesleyan tennis coach Brad Dehem, whose team's losses are to Johns Creek in the season opener and to AAAAA's Mill Creek. "I really haven't seen that the last couple of years. There's not really a team out there they don't think they can beat."

Though Dehem didn't see that kind of swagger the past few seasons, his program isn't new to success. The Wolves were state finalists two seasons ago and made the Elite Eight last year.

Despite major graduation losses, they won the Region 7-A title this season over Mt. Pisgah and also have a win over Athens Academy, the team that ended Wesleyan's 2009 season in the quarterfinals.

"We lost five of our seven starters on the boys team (from last year)," Dehem said. "I really didn't know what I was working with. But we've tried to get better every week and I think we've done that. We're peaking at the right time."

Leading the way at the top two singles spots are brothers Norman and Jeffrey Chang. Norman, a junior, is 15-0 at No. 1 singles and Jeffrey, a sophomore, is 13-2. Freshman Austin Zakas has stepped in at No. 3 singles.

Both doubles teams have been successful, too. Ryan Robinson, the lone senior in the top seven, joins sophomore Zach Taylor at No. 1 doubles and the No. 2 spot features sophomore Brooks Prettyman and freshman Andrew Dorman.