Rams had memorable N-O tennis title run

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 16 May 2020 at 9:04 am

Contributed Photo – Members of Roy-Hart’s 1988 Niagara-Orleans League championship tennis team include, in front, Jeff Heideman, Jeff Dickinson, Jenny McDonald, Aaron Hilger and Dan Oswari. In back are Dana Sheehan, Tom Gardner, Jeff Pellegrino, Coach Chris Horgan, Ray Neuman, Todd Albee, Chris Hemingway and Andy Oswari.

For two decades during the 1980’s and 1990’s Medina ruled the Niagara-Orleans League tennis courts – except for one brief stretch.

The only team to interrupt that run was Coach Chris Horgan’s Roy-Hart squad which earned at least a share of the N-O title for five straight years from 1988-1992.

That memorable run began when Roy-Hart ended an eight year title run by Medina by capturing the 1988 championship with a perfect 14-0 record.

That title season was highlighted by back-to-back regular season ending 3-2 wins over Medina which locked up the crown outright. The first of those wins ended Medina’s incredible 108 N-O match win streak.

Leading the Rams that season were All-League honorees Ray Neuman, Todd Albee, Tom Gardner and Andy Oswari.

Keeping the momentum, Roy-Hart repeated as undefeated N-O champions in 1989 by going 12-0. Neuman, Albee and Gardner again earned All-League honors to lead the Rams that season.

Each of the next three seasons (1990, 1991 and 1992) saw Roy-Hart and Medina emerge as N-O co-champions with 11-1 records as the Rams and Mustangs split their matches each time.

Leading the Rams in 1990 were All-League honorees Aaron Hilger, Jeff Heideman, Albee and Rob Reed. Hilger, Heideman and Reed again earned All-League honors in 1991.

The Rams 1992 All-League honorees included Hilger, Heideman, Jake Feltz and Shelly Bath.

Ironically, Horgan went on to become Medina’s coach in 2001 and is still guiding the Mustangs net fortunes. His Mustangs have captured the N-O title seven times.