Two defending champions will be among six area athletes opening play today in the PIAA boys' tennis singles championships at the Hershey Racquet Club.
North Penn senior Chris Haysn will be out to defend the Class AAA crown he won last year. Taylor Cohen, whose Lower Moreland team won the state Class AA championship this season, took the AA singles title last year.
Great Valley's Mark Milbrandt, Council Rock North's David Kazakevich, Council Rock South's Dylan Kady, and Central's Gabe Steerman are also in the AAA field. Steerman, the District 12 champion, will meet Haysn in his opening match.
Haysn will aim to repeat what he did last year, when he won the state crown after losing to Strath Haven's Walker Lyons in the District 1 final. This year, Haysn lost to Milbrandt, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, in the district final. He had beaten Milbrandt in last year's state semifinals, 6-0, 6-1.
Haysn topped Lower Merion's Will Zang, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-5, for the state title. Zang had eliminated Lyons in the semifinals.
Milbrandt, a junior, will face Lower Dauphin senior Sean Montgomery, the third-place finisher from District 3, in his opening-round match.
Sophomores Kady and Kazakevich are making their first appearances in the tournament. Kady, the third-place finisher in District 1, will take on senior Casey Watt of Pine Richland, the District 7 champion. Kazakevich, fourth in District 1, will meet District 3 champion Michael Duong of Cocalico.
Cohen, who beat District 3 champion Nick Shadowen of Trinity for his AA crown last season, will take on David Brown of Montoursville in the first round. Brown finished second in District 4.
Doubles play also will begin today, with finals for singles and doubles set for tomorrow afternoon.