Maine’s high school tennis postseason begins Saturday, with singles regional qualifying play around the state.
Matches are scheduled at Caribou High School (Region 1), the University of Maine (Region 2), Augusta’s Buker School (Region 3 boys), Mount Ararat High School of Topsham (Region 3 girls), Lewiston High School (Region 4), South Portland High School (Region 5 boys) and Deering High School of Portland (Region 5 girls).
Top finishers at the regional qualifying meet will advance to play at Bates College in Lewiston, beginning with the state Rounds of 48 and 32 slated for May 27 at the Wallach Tennis Center. The Round of 16 and quarterfinals will follow May 28, with the boys and girls semifinals scheduled for May 30.
The top five boys and girls finishers in Region 1 will move on to the Round of 48, with 10 from Region 2, eight each from Regions 3 and 4, and 17 boys and 17 girls from Region 5.
Neither 2010 state champion is back to defend that title this year. Reigning boys champion Brandon Thompson, a senior at Waynflete School in Portland, is participating in outdoor track this spring as he prepares to play collegiate tennis beginning next year at Division III Trinity University in San Antonio.
Elena Mandzhukova, an exchange student at Brunswick who won the state girls singles title last spring, is playing on the prep level at Kents Hill School this year and plans to continue her career at Bates next season.
The top Eastern Maine schoolboy player in the field figures to be John Bapst of Bangor top seed Bob Tom Flynn, undefeated so far this spring after being the only player not from Waynflete to advance to last spring’s state semifinals.
Another contender to advance from the East is Ellsworth’s Tyler Small, who has led the Eagles to an unbeaten record so far this spring and reached the Round of 16 last year.
Other top challengers for the boys title statewide will include Patrick Ordway of Waynflete, Tyler Adams of Bonny Eagle of Standish, Rodrigo Cepeda of Brunswick, Matt Gilman of Cape Elizabeth, Jordan Friedland of Lincoln Academy of Newcastle and Justin Brogan of Falmouth.
Two players each from 2010 Eastern Maine Class B champion Caribou and runner-up Camden Hills of Rockport should be among the top contenders in the girls singles field.
Caribou top seed Jenna Selander reached the quarterfinals a year ago before dropping a 6-4, 6-4 decision to the tournament’s No. 1 seed, Analise Kump of Falmouth. Laura Collins, also of Caribou, reached the Round of 16 a year ago, as did Camden Hills teammates Emma Blakeley and Carissa English.
Other challengers on the girls side include Kump and Annie Criscione of Falmouth, Maisie Silverman of Brunswick, Maria Varano of Kennebunk, Anna Jaeger of North Yarmouth Academy and Hannah Potter of Yarmouth.
Seeding meetings for regional play were scheduled to be held Wednesday evening.