Created:Wednesday, April 24, 2013 12:14 a.m.CDT
Updated:Wednesday, April 24, 2013 10:47 a.m.CDT
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Inside Boys Tennis: Hampshire's Hougland is Athlete of the Week

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK

ELISHA HOUGLAND
Hampshire, jr.
Hougland won the Jefferson Invitational at No. 1 singles Saturday in Rockford. It was a dominant performance as Hougland lost only two games in his three matches. On Monday, he defeated Prairie Ridge’s Ryan Kohl in the completion of a rain-delayed match. It was redemption for Hougland (16-4), who lost to Kohl in the semifinals of the Fox Valley Conference Tournament at No. 2 singles a year ago.

NOTEWORTHY

Scheduling nightmare:
McHenry has had only three outdoor practices this season.

Hampshire, in a recent two-week stretch, had two matches and one outdoor practice that was shortened because of sleet.

It’s the same across the area. Any days when the weather is decent are filled with matches or makeup matches.

“It’s been a nightmare trying to fill in,” Warriors coach Kyle Funkhouser said. “We’re booked up all the way through May 7.”

Funkhouser said with any more postponements, they might have to play May 8, which is scheduled for the FVC Tournament seeding meeting.

Whip-Purs coach Jon Betts said this is the time of year when teams should be looking at their performances over the first half of the season and structuring practices to get ready for conference and sectional tournaments.

“The bad weather is especially impactful on younger, less experienced teams that are losing much needed court time with every rainout,” Betts said. “Currently, if we have no more rainouts, we will have only three days of practice left before the conference tournament.”

Funkhouser agreed and said there has been no opportunity this season to play challenge matches for his players who are not in the starting lineup.

How bad is it?

Of the 80 boys tennis dual matches on the schedule so far in April, just more than half were played. If you take out the first week in April, 39 of the 61 duals were canceled or postponed because of weather. Currently, FVC teams have played as few as one division dual and as many as four.

Betts said it’s time to look at the requirement to play each of the 13 FVC opponents in a dual. Before last season, the points earned in the duals were added to a team’s tournament points to determine a conference champion. Now, two division titles are awarded based on interdivision duals along with a conference tournament champion.

“I think that, as coaches, we need to look at how we can better address our spring scheduling,” Betts said. “With 13 required conference matches, any weather interference can mean sacrificing a large portion of our practice load.”

The next logical step, Betts said, is to consider lifting the requirement for the crossover matches.

That’s not as easy as it sounds. Although the crossover duals do not impact standings, they do provide valuable information for the FVC tournament seeding, which can be contentious even with it.

“It would mess the whole seed meeting up,” Funkhouser said.

FVC STANDINGS

Valley Division
Div. Record Points
Prairie Ridge 3-0 21 CL South 2-1 8 Huntley 1-2 8 Cary-Grove 1-1 7 Jacobs 1-0 6 McHenry 0-1 3 Dundee-Crown 0-3 3 Fox Division Div. Record Points Grayslake Central 3-0 19 CL Central 3-1 19 Johnsburg 1-1 9 Hampshire 1-1 8 Grayslake North 1-1 8 Woodstock 0-1 0 Woodstock North 0-4 0

THIS WEEK'S TOP MEETS

Prairie Ridge at Jacobs, 4 p.m. Wednesday FVC Valley match of the year, take three. The Wolves and Golden Eagles will try for the third time to play their dual.

Tournament Saturday, 9 a.m. Saturday Crystal Lake South, Prairie Ridge, Hampshire and Huntley all host multi-team events.

– Rob Smith, rsmith@shawmedia.com