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Young Troy regrouping around its new coach
FULLERTON – In Ryan Young's five seasons as Troy's boys tennis coach, the Warriors never lost a Freeway League match. The last four of those seasons, Caryl Hernandez was the stalwart singles player, winning three league singles titles.
But Young and Hernandez, two constants of Troy's recent success, have moved on, leaving a new coach and a bevy of young talent with the task of carrying on the program's tradition.
Skyler Kressin, who took over as coach last month, acknowledges that his team, which includes three freshmen and four sophomores, is still adjusting.
"I think that there was a lot of continuity in the program because Ryan was a player and then he was the JV coach under the coach who had been there for years, Coach (George) Vallance. And so there was a real kind of smooth transition," Kressin said. "Whereas this year, both Ryan and the JV coach left. And so they have a new head coach and a new JV coach.
"I'm trying to really establish a strong routine as kind of a way to get them used to having a new coach and everything like that. We're running a lot. We're doing a lot of conditioning and then a lot of drilling."
Despite not having Hernandez, who now plays at UC Irvine, Kressin is confident Troy will have success in the Freeway League, which dropped to Division 2 this year. Charles Hicho, one of the team's two seniors, is the Warriors' No. 1 singles player, while sophomore Kevin Lee and freshman Ryan Hahn make up the top doubles unit.
"We definitely feel the loss of (Hernandez). But the good thing is that we do have some strong players coming up," Kressin said. "Our team is younger and inexperienced, but it's not without talent."
Like his predecessor, Kressin attended Troy. He graduated in 2004 before moving on to Chapman University, where he earned a degree in accounting. When he's not coaching, Kressin is either working part-time in accounting and finance or studying toward his teaching credential.
The early returns on Troy's new coach are positive. Though Hicho said he was shocked when Young stepped down last May – Young now coaches at Hope International University – the senior captain said Kressin is "definitely living up to the spot" his former coach left.
"The adjustment to not having Caryl and having a new coach is actually providing more motivation for us to work harder and come together as a team," Hicho said. "It's providing a better energy for us."
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