These Pirates are balanced.

The Santa Ynez High tennis team is off to an 8-1 start this season and have won matches on the strength of both the singles and doubles players this season.

The Pirates' only loss this season was to Arroyo Grande, by a score of 15-3. They're 7-0 in Los Padres League and resume LPL play Tuesday at Templeton.

Santa Ynez is ranked No. 5 in the CIF Southern Section Division 5 poll. Arroyo Grande is the No. 3 team in Division 2. 

The Pirates' top doubles team of Ryan Rennick, a junior, and senior Cooper Owens is 20-1 on the season. Their only loss was to Arroyo Grande's top doubles team.  Rennick and Owens have only dropped one game in 15 league sets this year.

Braxton Johnson is leading the singles side for the Pirates. He's 14-3 on the season and 13-1 in league.

A freshman has also helped out on the singles side. Newcomer Kyle Wilczak is 21-6 on the year and 19-2 in league sets.

Overall, Santa Ynez's doubles teams are 45-3 in LPL sets.

During a March 15 league match against Cabrillo, which the Pirates won 17-1, Cabrillo coach David Riley was impressed with Santa Ynez.

“These guys are good” were the words that came out of Riley’s mouth toward the end of Santa Ynez’s dominating performance.

The Pirates took care of business against Cabrillo using experience and strong backhand counters to win the LPL contest over the Conquistadores.

Cabrillo’s Cedric Kwon prevented the 18-0 loss with his singles victory over the Pirates’ No. 2 option Darren Hinkins 7-6 (7-4 in tiebreakers).

Pirates head coach Steve Gunning – who is in his second season of running the varsity team after several years with the junior varsity – likes the depth, talent and knowledge of tennis his team brings this spring.

“We have a really strong team – a very experienced team,” Gunning said after the match. “The kids are focused, they enjoy the game and they work well together.”

In the recent league match against Cabrillo, the trio of doubles teams on Santa Ynez worked flawlessly in cohesion – winning all three of their sets against an equally talented and experienced group of Conqs. The No. 1 team of Rennick and Owens won two of their matches 6-0. The No. 2 team consisting of Max Porter and Neil Collison claimed two of their three matches by a score on 6-1. Lastly, Robert Meyer and Kurt Beehler took their first contest 6-4 before winning their next two by scores of 6-1 and 6-2.

The singles’ side has this familiar face in Johnson, who has seen his name get plastered in state tennis rankings. The key returner overcame a tough back-and-forth with Kwon by winning 6-4, then beat Chris Barrick and Eli Pellot, respectively, by scores of 6-0 and 6-1.

Outside of Johnson, Hinkins took two of three contests by scores of 6-2 over Barrick and 6-4 against Pellot. The Pirates’ No. 3 option Kyle Walczak swept his three contests by scores of 6-3, 6-0 and 6-3.

Joe Bailey is the sports editor at Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Contact him with tips and story ideas at or (805) 739-2239. Follow him on Twitter at


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